Rajkot (Gujarat) [India]: India's star spinner Kuldeep Yadav relished his first experience with England's 'Bazball' strategy in Visakhapatnam since it forced bowlers to consider restraining hitters in Test cricket and also increased prospect of taking wickets.
The five-match Test series has been levelled at 1-1, and the two sides have assembled at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot for the second match, starting from Thursday.
"Usually in Tests you're not used to teams attacking you with this kind of approach [Bazball], but it also involves you a lot more. As a spinner it makes you more focused on how you want to bowl and what your approach is," Kuldeep said during the pre-match press conference.
"Normally when you play Tests, you don't worry about batters attacking you, you're only focused on how you want to get them out. But here the approach is different, they're in attacking mode so you also have to plan how to restrict them. When they play shots, you have those many opportunities to take wickets. It's interesting. The last game was my first [against Bazball], I enjoyed it a lot, it's good for cricket," he added.
The spinner on Tuesday stated that rank turner might come into play on the Rajkot pitch in the third Test against England and also acknowledged that pitches, such as those used in the first two matches, are "good for cricket."
"I haven't played on rank turners, I don't know what the approach or thought is, it's a team management decision. Obviously, everyone wants to watch good cricket. I don't know if I'll get an opportunity or not, but whether it's flat wicket or rank turner, I enjoy it. I think batting is also important, not just spin bowling. Fast bowling comes into the game as well.
It's good for cricket. It's not like you'll see rank turners only, but hopefully you'll see it [laughs]," Kuldeep said.
"Wicket is really good and Rajkot's wicket is always good whether you play T20 or Test. I still remember when I played my last Test match here, the pitch was really good batting wicket. I am sure we will see good cricket,"
India suffered a 28-run defeat in the first Test but the hosts bounced back in the second game on the back of the brilliance of Jasprit Bumrah, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill to go level in the five-match series against England at home with a convincing win in Visakhapatnam by 106 runs.
There was no need to remind Kuldeep of his 2018 Test match against the West Indies in Rajkot, where he took five wickets.
"It'll be a batting wicket. It doesn't mean there'll be 700-800 runs scored. It'll be a good wicket. It won't be a rank turner, it will be a live wicket, good for cricket," he said.
If the pitches in Rajkot continue to be as good as they have been in the first two Tests of this series, Kuldeep may be able to hold onto his spot in the starting eleven even if Ravindra Jadeja makes a comeback. In Visakhapatnam, Kuldeep was more productive than Axar Patel due to his precision and extra bounce.
"Am not sure of my position. If I get the opportunity, I'll be more than happy. I don't think too much about whether am playing or not. I just enjoy my day and keep working hard. Combination is such a thing that it matters in a team game. As simple as that," he said when asked about his chances of playing in Rajkot.
Heading into the third Test India will be without the experienced wicketkeeper-batter KL Rahul as the player was ruled out of the match. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Monday named Devdutt Padikkal as Rahul's replacement for the third Test.
India's updated Squad for the third Test: Rohit Sharma (C), Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Dhruv Jurel (WK), KS Bharat (WK), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja*, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep, Devdutt Padikkal.