KL Rahul, India’s stand-in skipper, confessed on Sunday that the team may have benefited from the services of left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav during the second innings of the match against Bangladesh. However, he stated that he has “no regrets” about not playing Yadav in the final test match.
Kuldeep was replaced by Jaydev Unadkat, an additional seamer, despite the fact that he had just won the match for India by 188 runs in the Chattogram Test. This move was criticised by Sunil Gavaskar and several former Indian cricketers, including Kuldeep.
“The choice is not one that I lament. It turned out to be the best choice. If you look at the wickets, you’ll see that our fast bowlers have taken many wickets as well, despite the fact that they received a lot of help from their teammates.
During the post-match media session, KL Rahul defended his judgement by stating that there was a significant amount of inconsistent bounce.
India survived a scare when they were struggling at 74 for 7 while chasing a tricky 145 on a difficult fourth-day track. Ravichandran Ashwin and Shreyas Iyer pulled off an incredible three-wicket chase with an unbroken eighth-wicket partnership of 71 runs. This allowed India to win by three wickets and avoid losing the match.
We based our choice on our previous experiences competing in one-day internationals (ODIs) at this venue. We observed that there is support for both spinning and bouncing. It was for the sake of having a balanced side, and I believe that it was the right call,” he went on to say.
Kuldeep had a sensational comeback after an absence of 22 months, returning with a match-haul of eight wickets and also scoring a courageous 40 in a key lower-order partnership with Ashwin. This came after Kuldeep had been injured. Additionally, he was voted the player of the match in the first test that they played at Chattogram.
“Knowing that he won the last Test for us made it a really challenging decision. But after observing the pitch a day before the game, we had the impression that there would be help for both fast bowlers and seamers. With that in mind, we decided to field the most well-rounded and competitive team that we could,” Rahul explained.
Kuldeep’s absence was keenly felt by the team, particularly in Bangladesh’s second essay, during which India failed to bowl out the home side despite having a significant first innings advantage of 87 runs.
Bangladesh reached 231 despite being 70 for 4 during their innings.
In retrospect, KL Rahul admitted that he would have preferred to have Kuldeep bowl in the second innings if he had been able to take advantage of the ‘Impact Player’ rule, which is scheduled to be implemented in the Indian Premier League in the following season.
According to Rahul, “In a perfect world, if the Impact Player rule had been there — like it is in the IPL — I would have definitely wanted to bring Kuldeep in the second innings.”
According to the Impact Player of ‘Super Sub’ rule, which was implemented for the first time in the Big Bash 2020 and also appeared in the Syed Mushtaq Ali domestic T20s this season, each team is allowed to make one substitute while a match is in progress.
At the time of the toss, each side will submit four substitutes, and any one of those four can enter the game as a “Impact Player.”
Both Rahul (57 runs, 14.25 average) and Virat Kohli (45 runs, 15.00 average) performed poorly in the two-Test series, but the stand-in captain placed the blame on the rapid transition from white ball to red ball cricket.
“When you play all three versions of the game, switching from one format to another can be a little bit challenging. For me, it takes a little bit of time to get back into the swing of things and understand, as well as to get my mind focused on the things that I was doing well before.
“How rapidly you can adjust to each format is a different difficulty… It’s a challenge, which is exactly the kind of thing that gets my blood pumping.
It is very clear that performance in this series was not very impressive. That is not an issue for me. I gave it my all, but unfortunately it was not successful. I can think about the future and figure out how I can improve for the next time,” he said.
Rahul explained it away by pointing the finger at their packed schedule, saying, “Unfortunately, our schedules are too tight for some of the players that play all formats to achieve it and become used to it too quickly.”