Kohli Admits Kuldeep Is Key to India’s Plan

The Indian captain Virat Kohli has admitted that the “lethal” left-arm wrist spin bowling of Kuldeep Yadav is going to play a vital role in the rest of the England tour.

Cricket news: Kuldeep will become more lethal and effective, says Captain Kohli

Kuldeep won the first game for India with a man-of-the-match performance of 5/24, as he helped India secure an eight-wicket win in the T20I game held at Old Trafford.

Once England were in a good position with 94-1, but thanks to Kuldeep’s lethal googlies, the English side could manage 159/8, which included three wickets in a span of just four deliveries.

KL Rahul managed a superb 101 off 54 deliveries to guide his team home with 10 balls to spare. Kuldeep’s performance was a reminder of England’s vulnerability against spin bowling.

“He’s going to be effective on any pitches we play on,” Kohli said. “When it turns, he’s going to be even more lethal. He’s very difficult to pick. I hope he can keep the batsmen guessing.

“Looking at how convincing we were in all three skill-sets gives me great please as captain, especially some of the younger guys stepping up and doing the job.”

It was a sustained spell of hot weather in the UK, but Kuldeep said that he was rather feeling comfortable while bowling at the Old Trafford.

“It felt like home conditions,” he explained. “The wicket was very dry but when I bowled my first over I felt like there was going to be a bit of turn so I stuck to one line and length.

“I bowled my wrong ‘uns in the perfect areas. It’s my first tour and things are going quite well.

“Probably after this game, and for the next few games, England’s batsmen will prepare well. Obviously, they are quality players.”

It was only England’s wicketkeeper Jos Butler who managed to pose some threat to the Indian bowlers with his 46-ball 69, but he also eventually succumbed to one of Kuldeep’s googly.

England captain Eoin Morgan has said to the press that they need to find a way to counter the threat of Kuldeep for the remainder of the tour.

“Kuldeep is a very good bowler,” Morgan said. “And he will continue to be a threat. Maybe we can be a bit better. It’s something we’ll assess.

“He took three wickets in four balls today and deceived us. It wasn’t a case of chipping up in the air. He bowled well.”

Morgan added: “The more time you spend at the crease the better you see the ball.

“I think like it’s any challenge. If you are facing it at 90mph bowling it’s difficult to replicate it in practice. And the same with a guy who spins it both ways. You have a clear plan and stick to it.

“Jos Buttler is a magnificent player of spin. If you go back and analyse how Alex Hales and Jos played him they didn’t give chances but acknowledged he bowled well.”

Indian captain Virat Kohli also praised the batting of KL Rahul, which was a fine mixture of finesse along with power hitting, as the batsman scored his second T20I century.

“He’s someone who has come a long way – he batted so clean, so crisp in the IPL and he has carried it forward,” added the India skipper.

“We want guys like him to step up, so other guys can play with more freedom. He can bat long as well. He’s very hungry, has great technique, and it’s a great sign for Indian cricket.”