‘More involved in game’: Kuldeep Yadav reacts after getting the first taste of bazball

Indian cricketer Kuldeep Yadav has shared his thoughts on England’s assertive batting strategy, a style that has been increasingly characteristic of their test match approach. Yadav, who faced England’s hitters in the second Test at Visakhapatnam, found himself at the sharp end of what has been informally termed ‘bazball’, and while he gave away runs at economies of 4.2 and 4 in the two innings, he also claimed four wickets. Kuldeep, a left-arm wrist spinner, expressed no qualms about batters taking him on, even welcoming the challenge.

Kuldeep’s reflections come as something of an insight into the mind of a bowler facing the new wave of aggressive Test batting. “Usually in Test cricket, you are not used to having someone with such an attacking batting approach. But at the same time, you are more involved in the game,” Kuldeep observed. “As a spinner, you are more focused on the game, how you are going to bowl, and what your approach will be.”

The traditional form of Test cricket often saw a more probing, patient confrontation between bat and ball, where spinners like Yadav would set traps over lengthy periods of time. However, England’s approach has ushered in a dynamic shift. “Sometimes in Test cricket, you are not overly worried if the batter would attack and you focus on how to dismiss them. But here the approach is different. They are in attacking mode, so you have to plan on how to restrict them because playing more shots then more opportunities are being created to take a wicket,” he explained.

The Visakhapatnam encounter was an exhibition of this aggressive style, and despite the challenges it posed, Kuldeep found enjoyment in the game’s evolving nature. “It is interesting, the last game was my first (of the series) and I enjoyed it a lot and it is good for cricket too,” he stated. His comments came just ahead of the third Test slated to be played in Rajkot.

The topic of pitches has been particularly salient whenever Test matches are held in India, with debates often swirling around the suitability for spin and the balance between bat and ball. The pitches in Hyderabad and Vizag have been conducive to good cricket, pleasing to the purists who often fear overly doctored surfaces that unduly favor the home side. On the matter of pitches, Kuldeep expressed a professional indifference, content to play regardless of the conditions. “I do not know that, I enjoy playing whenever I should get an opportunity to play, whether it is on a flat track or on a rank turner. I haven’t played on rank turners,” he divulged.

Kuldeep’s absence from the last home series, the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, highlighted how selection decisions can often eclipse individual preferences for pitch conditions. As such, the chinaman bowler recognized that it is, ultimately, the team management’s prerogative to decide on strategies and playing conditions. Still, he acknowledges the fans’ desire for entertaining cricket: “Obviously, all of you also want to watch good cricket. For good cricket, it’s important (that the wickets are good).”

The spinner’s attitude encapsulates the adaptive nature of modern cricketers. As the game’s formats evolve and strategies shift, players like Kuldeep Yadav are finding new ways to thrive and enjoy their cricket. With the third Test on the horizon, fans and pundits alike will be watching closely to see how Kuldeep and his fellow bowlers adapt to the challenge posed by England’s dynamic batting order.

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