India’s wrist-spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have been phenomenal since the start of the ODI series in South Africa and have virtually been solely responsible for the Proteas’ batsmen’s struggle in all three concluded matches so far. The spin-duo once again claimed 8 wickets between them during the third ODI in Cape Town to hand the visitors a 3-0 series lead with three matches yet to be played. Skipper Virat Kohli, during his press conference in Newlands, admitted that he doesn’t have words to credit the sort of performance Kuldeep and Chahal have put in but refrained from giving a clear-cut status on the duo’s Test future.
“Those are things that are quite a bit away from now,” Kohli said when asked of the Test chances of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, especially away from home. “Look they are obviously making a very strong case for themselves, bowling in these conditions and making breakthroughs like we haven’t seen before. It’s outstanding to see two guys just totally spinning a web around the opposition. There doesn’t seem to be a way out at all. It’s unbelievable. Taking eight wickets today. Outstanding,” said the Indian captain who himself scored 160 runs in match to power the team to a total of 303 runs.
Overawed by Kuldeep-Chahal’s performance, Kohli admitted he has run out of words seeing not just the performance but the bravery of the pair with which they have bowled in the Rainbow Nation.
“I don’t have words to explain this. Credit to them. Both have been working hard on their game. Both are very brave in terms of how they bowl and the kind of fields they want as well. They are very brave tossing the ball and asking the batsman to come out and play a risky shot. Hats off to them but the other debate is a bit away from now. You never know what happens in the future but I am really happy at the moment,” added the 29-year-old.
Coming to the selection of two spinners, Kohli said he knew they will pick wickets. “We knew they will pick up wickets,” the skipper revealed. “Because wristspinners, these guys have bowled in flatter batting tracks at home. Some might think they have bowled in T20 cricket when the conditions are very very difficult and they have picked up wickets on a regular basis, you know.
“Here they felt even better because they were getting bounce. On some pitches like today, it got really slow at the end so they were getting turn as well. They feel at the top of their game when they have the pitches supporting them even a little bit. But they are very brave and even on flatter pitches, wristspinners will also come into play and they have made that difference in the game. They might go for six an over, we knew that, but they will pick up three-four wickets between them. They have done outstandingly well in the last two games picking up a majority of the wickets in both games and being the difference between both sides,” he continued.
Kohli then opened up on the intent with which the wrist-spin duo bowls, highlighting that it doesn’t matter if they go for runs, the focus is always on picking wickets.
“The thing is very simple,” Kohli said. “They are told to go for wickets at all times. When you are going for wickets you are bowling in areas that are uncomfortable for the batsmen and more often than not they end up defending. When you bowl wide and try to save runs then you give an opportunity to take singles also.
“So I think all the credit has to go to them because they’ve executed those lines and lengths perfectly. They’ve always, every over they’ve asked two-three questions of the batsmen, that is something outstanding. I haven’t seen that before. Every over they might pick up two wickets, that is the kind of belief they have in their abilities. The team has a belief in them, the team is backing them.”
Keeping the 2019 World Cup in mind, Kohli admitted that the duo can be India’s X-Factor in the team’s bid to reclaim the elusive trophy.
“They might get hit for 70-odd in the next game. But there is no problem in that because you know that if they bowl attacking lines then they will end up picking two-three wickets every game. In these conditions now and we are going to play the World Cup away from home, that I think is going to be the massive x-factor for us.”
Veteran South African batsman JP Duminy also hailed Kuldeep and Chahal, admitting that the Proteas batsmen haven’t been able to pick the duo’s wrong-uns properly.
“I think the key is definitely to try and be positive. But unfortunately, on a few occasions, we haven’t picked their wrong ’uns,” Duminy said at the post-match press conference
After making a promising start in chasing a sizable 304 for victory – set up by Virat Kohli’s stupendous knock of 160* – the hosts went from 79/2 to 179 all out, primarily because of the brilliance of India’s spin twins.