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BAN vs IND 2022-23, 2nd Test: 'It was the right decision to exclude Kuldeep Yadav' - KL Rahul

BAN vs IND: India fought hard to extract a series-winning conquest against Bangladesh in the final Dhaka Test. While eyebrows were raised after Kuldeep Yadav's axe despite his opening Chittagong Test heroics, KL Rahul backs his decision.

Bangladesh vs India, BAN vs IND 2022-23, Dhaka/2nd Test: It was the right decision to exclude Kuldeep Yadav - KL Rahul-ayh
First Published Dec 25, 2022, 4:18 PM IST

Stand-in Indian skipper KL Rahul, on Sunday, admitted that India missed the services of left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav in the second innings but said he has "no regret" about leaving him out of the final Test against Bangladesh. Fresh from his match-winning show in India's 188-run win in the Chattogram Test, Kuldeep was benched for an extra seamer in Jaydev Unadkat, a decision slammed by the likes of legendary former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar.

"I don't regret the decision. It was the right decision. If you look at the wickets, our fast bowlers have taken many wickets and had a lot of assistance. There was a lot of inconsistent bounce," Rahul said, defending his decision at the post-match media interaction. Struggling at 74/7 while chasing a tricky 145 on a problematic fourth-day track, India survived a scare as Ravichandran Ashwin and Shreyas Iyer pulled off an incredible three-wicket chase with an unbroken eighth-wicket partnership of 71 runs.

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"We took the decision keeping in mind our experience of playing here in the ODIs [One-Day Internationals]. We saw there's assistance for both spin and bounce. It was to have a balanced side, and I think it was the right call," Rahul added. Kuldeep had made a spectacular comeback after 22 months, returning with a match-haul of eight wickets and also scored a valiant 40 in a crucial lower-order partnership with Ashwin. He was also adjudged the Man of the Match in their opening Test in Chittagong.

"It was a tough call, knowing that he won us the last Test. But, seeing the pitch a day before the game, we felt that there would be assistance for both fast bowlers and seamers and keeping that in mind, we wanted to play the best and balanced team that we can," Rahul said.

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The team felt Kuldeep's absence, especially in Bangladesh's second essay when India, with a crucial first-innings lead of 87 runs, struggled to bowl out the home side. Bangladesh were 70/4 but went on to make 231. In hindsight, Rahul said he would have loved to have Kuldeep bowl in the second innings if he had the option of the 'Impact Player' rule that would make its debut in next year's IPL (Indian Premier League).

"Ideally, if the Impact Player rule were there -- like in the IPL -- I would have loved to bring Kuldeep in the second innings," Rahul said. The Impact Player of 'Super Sub' rule, which made its debut in the Big Bash 2020 and was also seen in the Syed Mushtaq Ali domestic T20s this season, means each team can make one substitution in the course of a match.


Each team will submit four substitutes at the toss; anyone can come in as an 'Impact Player'. The two-Test series proved to be disastrous for Rahul (57 runs, average: 14.25) and Virat Kohli (45 runs; 15.00), but the stand-in skipper blamed it on the quick transition from white ball to red-ball cricket.

"When you play all three formats, it is tricky to jump from one format to another. It takes a bit of time to get back into the groove and understand, to get your mind back to what you were doing right. Each format is a challenge on how quickly you can adapt... It's a challenge that excites me. The performance in this series was not great. I can accept that. I tried my best, and it didn't work. I can look forward and see what I can do better next time," Rahul added.

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Blaming it on their tight schedule, Rahul said: "Unfortunately, our schedules are too tight for some of the players who play all formats to do that and get used to too quickly. But that's the challenge for us. Ideally, we would have wanted a lot more time between red and white ball to get used to, get our mind back to play red-ball cricket, develop patience, and perform."

Iyer had a fruitful series as he averaged 101 with two fifties. He was the second leading run-getter with 202 runs behind Cheteshwar Pujara (222), and his assuring presence, especially in the second innings, calmed things down. "He has been around the team for a long time. I'm so happy for him. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands. The way he played today was phenomenal. He made it look straightforward," Rahul concluded.

(With inputs from PTI)

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