Bring ‘Kulcha’ Back – Time has come to look beyond Ashwin in ODIs: Harbhajan Singh

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New Delhi: The former cricketer said on Tuesday that India’s spinners are not able to do better in the middle overs in ODI cricket. He further said that it is time to look beyond R Ashwin in the 50-over format and bring back the combination of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. Who are known as ‘Kulcha’ (Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal). India suffered a 0-3 loss in the recently concluded three-match ODI series, with off-spinner (Ravichandran Ashwin) and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal compared to South African spinners, Tabrez Shamsi. The trio of Keshav Maharaj and part-time spinner Aiden Markram took more wickets. The 35-year-old Ashwin, who returned to the ODI team for the first time since 2017, took only one wicket in two matches. In the third match, Jayant Yadav was included in his place in the team. Yuzvendra Chahal, on the other hand, also picked up only two wickets. The former India off-spinner feels that both Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal have taken a defensive stand against South African batsmen and said that it is time to try Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav again in ODIs. There is no harm in those who haven’t played together since the 2019 World Cup. Harbhajan told India Today, “I think these two guys (Ishant Sharma and Ashwin) have done really well for Team India, whether you are talking about Test cricket or ODIs. With all due respect to R Ashwin, I think he is a champion bowler, but in ODI cricket, the time has come for India to look for an alternative, who can do even better. He said, ‘A player like Kuldeep Yadav can be a good option. Why don’t we go back to the ‘kulcha’ combination and see what they can bring to the table? He has won many matches for India. It would be good to go back to him. He said, ‘R Ashwin and Chahal played in the South Africa series. He didn’t create too many opportunities with the ball, he was a bit defensive from his point of view. Many times they could have attacked the opposition by putting another slip, but it was not seen. Harbhajan admitted that the pitch was not spin-friendly in the South Africa series but believes bowlers need to create opportunities to pick up wickets in the middle overs.

[Attribution to NBT]

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