Former cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir revealed that he was surprised by Indian cricket team decision to prefer Shahbaz Nadeem in place of Kuldeep Yadav in the first Test against England being held in Chennai, according to a report by ESPNCricinfo.
Calling the decision a bit 'unfortunate', Gambhir said Kuldeep Yadav can turn it both ways and would have been an asset for India in the first test match.
“Little unfortunate on Kuldeep’s part. They should have actually picked Kuldeep against England. A left-arm wrist spinner is a unique commodity. He’s been with the team without playing much. He would have been a great asset,” said Gambhir.
Nadeem was selected in the Test team after all-rounder Axar Patel's exclusion from the first Test because of a knee injury.
Gambhir said that Kuldeep should’ve been chosen straight up as he could have made an impact at the beginning of the series.
“They are playing two off-spinners. Yes, probably they wanted a little more depth in the batting at number 7 and number 8. So it’s a massive surprise. I would have picked Kuldeep any day. Whether it’s a right hander or a left hander, it really doesn’t matter when you’ve got a left-arm spinner who can take it both ways,” the former cricketer added.
Kuldeep was the only cricketer of the original Test squad who did not get a game in Australia irrespective of being fit and fine. He played his last match two years ago in 2019 in Australia where he took a five-wicket haul.
Moreover, India head coach Ravi Shastri and stand-in skipper for three Tests in Australia Ajinkya Rahane had pointed out that Kuldeep will get an opportunity in the home series against England.
Meanwhile, England scored 67 for two at lunch on Day 1 after Joe Root chose to bat first, whereas Ravichandran Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah took wickets for India.