Categories: Features

Unlucky Kuldeep denied by fielders, reviewing, but shines with loop and turn

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One of multiple beneficiaries of the unexpected turn of events within the Indian camp in Sri Lanka was Kuldeep Yadav. Left out of the Indian playing XI in T20Is for over a year, the left-arm wrist-spinner made his comeback in the penultimate game of the three-match series against Sri Lanka.

With many of their players sidelined after the COVID-19 scare within the squad following spin all-rounder Krunal Pandya’s positive test, Kuldeep was one of six bowling options in India’s heavily imbalanced side.

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Despite a fortunate break, however, the luck wasn’t quite on bowler’s side as he missed out on much-deserved wickets and had runs conceded off his bowling through no fault of his own.

Unlucky Kuldeep denied much-deserved breakthroughs on comeback T20I outing

The first moment of misfortune came in unlucky Kuldeep’s very first over, where despite what seemed a plumb LBW dismissal, batsman Dasun Shanaka was given not out by the on-field umpire. Stand-in captain Shikhar Dhawan discussed the matter with the spinner and wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson but they ultimately decided to not take the review.

Unlucky Kuldeep had a plumb LBW appeal denied off his bowling, which was also not reviewed.

Moments later, the replay of the ball showed that Shanaka would have had a long walk back to the pavilion had India opted to send the matter upstairs. Kuldeep was visibly hurt seeing the giant screen, but the wrist-spinner didn’t let that disturb his impressive rhythm on the night and got his man in his next over. As Shanaka tried to step out and hit Kuldeep over the in-field, the bowler spun and slid the ball down leg, before Samson collected the ball nicely and stumped him.


 

But the wicket of Shanaka didn’t break the jinx on the night for Kuldeep, who then had in-form left-hand batsman Minod Bhanuka mistiming an attempted lofted stroke only to see a catch dropped off his bowling. As Bhanuka danced down the ground, the young gun threw the ball wider off his arc and had him slicing the ball to the close-in fieldsman Bhuvneshwar Kumar. However, what should’ve been a straightforward catch, was spilled by the experienced pacer in a moment of agony and despair for Kuldeep.

Bhuvneshwar dropped an easy catch off Kuldeep’s bowling.

The unlucky Kuldeep, though, once again had his man only a few balls later when Bhanuka got out top-edging a sweep-shot to mid-wicket fielder Rahul Chahar.

Helping India defend their modest total of 132/5, the Indian wrist-spinner had figures of 2/15 at the end of his first three overs. But the comeback man couldn’t end his other magnificent spell in the fashion it deserved, as he went for 15 runs off his last over. Kuldeep conceded a six and a four off his final six balls. The four, however, wasn’t down to any improper execution from the bowler, with long-off fielder Chetan Sakariya failing to cover the ball through an attempted dive and giving away the boundary.

Unlucky Kuldeep ended with much worse figures when he could’ve easily had more wickets at fewer runs to show for his effort on the night. The 26-year-old’s overall performance, though, shall boost his confidence and keep him in the mix as far as India’s T20 World Cup plans are concerned.

Kashish Chadha

A cricket writer by heart and profession. Currently at work for CricXtasy. Previously with Circle of Cricket. You can find him on Twitter @crickashish217

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