Bengaluru, June 10: It is perhaps for the first time since the days of Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh that India are witnessing two of their spinners operating in tandem to choke the opponent batsmen.
Seeing India fielding two spinners together, all the more in ODIs and that too on the foreign soil, is not common. But just as captain Virat Kohli had said earlier, the spinning pair of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will be India's main strength in the ongoing World Cup in England and there has been no tinkering with the idea.
Kuldeep, who bowled with a lot of venom in Australia earlier this year and is only one of India's two bowlers with a five-wicket haul in all three formats, has not had a great Indian Premier League ahead of the World Cup. He has not been as successful as Chahal in picking wickets in the tournament as well, but there is no denying the fact that the bowlers have gelled well to bolster the Indian spin attack.
In the game against South Africa in Southampton, Kuldeep found his rhythm and got the wicket of the experienced JP Duminy. He gave 46 runs in his 10 overs and his task was made easier by Chahal, who at the other end, took 4 for 51 to make a remarkable World Cup debut. The two replicated their impressive show that had floored the Proteas in their own den last year, helping India win 5-1.
In the match against Australia at the Oval on Sunday, Kuldeep went without a wicket but his bowling in tandem with Chahal who took 2 for 62 (David Warner and Glenn Maxwell were two of his victims) put brakes on Australia's scoring at a vital moment to push them out of the game.
Between the 11th and 34th over, the two spinners bowled 16 overs and gave away only 80-odd runs at an economy rate of just over five. India will certainly hope that both the wrist-spinners strike in tandem as well, as they did against Bangladesh in the warm-up game in Cardiff ahead of the World Cup (both took three apiece), which would make Kohli's mission to win the third World Cup for India that much easier.