Rohit Sharma has revealed that he wants to get the spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal “back together”, and whenever that happens, give them enough time to settle into the team. Rohit, who begins his first series as India’s full-time ODI captain, will also be cautious of handling “Kuldeep’s situation carefully” as he makes his way back into competitive cricket after having gone through knee surgery last October.
Kuldeep’s recovery has taken him nearly four months. His recovery process coincided with India’s white-ball domestic tournaments in November-December, which means he will be entering the ODI series against West Indies having barely played any cricket over recent months. India are scheduled for just two training sessions by the time they take the field for the first ODI against West Indies on Sunday.
One of the reasons why Kuldeep and Chahal will perhaps be given the opportunity to rediscover their partnership is because of their past brilliance. Between the end of the 2017 Champions Trophy and the start of the 2019 World Cup, Kuldeep (87 wickets at 21.74) and Chahal (66 wickets at 25.68) were the top two wicket-takers in all ODI cricket.
Rohit Sharma on the Chahal-Kuldeep duo making their way back
“They are going to be crucial going forward,” Rohit said ahead of Sunday’s series opener in Ahmedabad. “These two guys have been great performers for us in the past, they’ve certainly created an impact in those years whenever they’ve played together. In the middle why they have been left out was because of combination. We wanted to get an extra batter in, at times we wanted to get an extra seamer in, so that is probably why one of the two have missed out, but it’s certainly on my mind to get them back together, Kuldeep especially.”
“He hasn’t played since the IPL, then he got injured and was out since then,” Rohit said. “He hasn’t played a lot of games after that, so we want to get him in slowly. We don’t want to rush into things. It can’t do good for either the team or him. You have to give him some time to come into his groove, to come into his own, and that is going to take a little bit of time. We straightaway don’t want to put him into a situation where we are asking too much of him also. I think for us, it’s important we handle that situation carefully. For us, very important players both of these guys.”
“Chahal obviously played in South Africa, Kuldeep has just come back into the squad now. Obviously, we want to give them an opportunity, but it can happen over the course of time. It just cannot happen suddenly. Kuldeep needs to play a lot of games to get his groove and rhythm back and we do understand that. Keeping everything in mind, we want to move forward and whatever is going to help the team, we will try and take those steps.”