Legendary India batter Sunil Gavaskar was left baffled over the omission of left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav from the playing eleven for the second Test against Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka, terming the decision to drop him as ‘unbelievable’.
On his Test comeback after 22 months, Kuldeep won the Player of the Match award after India secured a 1-0 lead in the two-game series, following a comprehensive 188-run win in the first Test at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram last week.
Overall, Kuldeep picked eight wickets in the Test match at Chattogram, while conceding 113 runs, including a fantastic 5-40 to bowl out Bangladesh for 150 in their first innings. He also had a vital contribution with the bat, making a career-best 40 in the first innings and adding 92 runs for the eighth wicket with Ravichandran Ashwin to help India post 404.
But on Thursday, India stand-in captain K.L. Rahul said Kuldeep was left out of the playing eleven and left-arm fast bowler Jaydev Unadkat was included in his place of him. The swap left many baffled, including Gavaskar.
“Dropping a (player who was) Man of the Match, that is unbelievable. That’s the only word I can use and it’s a gentle word. I would like to use quite stronger words, but it’s unbelievable that you left out a man of the match, who got eight out of the 20 wickets,” Gavaskar was quoted as saying by broadcasters Sony Sports Network after the toss.
He added that either Ravichandran Ashwin or Axar Patel could have been dropped in place of Kuldeep.
“You have got two other spinners. So surely, one of the other spinners could have been dropped. But this guy, who took eight wickets should have played today with due respect to what the pitch looks like.”
At the toss, Rahul revealed Unadkat had replaced Kuldeep in the playing eleven. “Hard decision on Kuldeep but we know Ashwin and Axar can find spin, and bring Jaydev in to cover all bases. Unfortunate decision for us to leave him (Kuldeep) out but it’s an opportunity for Unadkat.”
The Dhaka Test will be just the second appearance for Unadkat in the longer format for India. His only appearance so far in Tests came almost 12 years ago, in the first Test of the 2010/11 tour of South Africa in Centurion.