Team India enjoyed a supreme run in the recently concluded Asia Cup as Rohit Sharma and Co. mauled Sri Lanka by 10 wickets to lift the title for the eighth time. Mohammed Siraj led India’s charge in the summit clash against the co-hosts in Colombo as he single-handedly tilted the contest entirely into India’s favour.
While that was the case in the final, Team India put up an equally dominant show in the Super Fours stage. India kicked-off the Super Fours with a record 228-run victory over Pakistan and followed it up by defending a modest 213 against Sri Lanka.
While it was Virat Kohli and KL Rahul‘s unbeaten tons that set the tone against Pakistan, there was also another individual performance which got overshadowed by the batting brilliance. Kuldeep Yadav in the same encounter registered a five-wicket haul, helping India fold Pakistan for 128 in 32 overs.
That was not it as Kuldeep once again rose to the occasion in the following match against Sri Lanka, which India won by 41 runs. This time Kuldeep fell short by a wicket from completing consecutive fifers, but his effort helped India bundle out Sri Lanka for 172 while chasing a modest 214.
Kuldeep’s efforts in the continental event saw him bag the Player of the Series award. Such has been his form of late that he will surely be one of India’s key players heading into the World Cup.
However, if we stroll back a few years Kuldeep was nowhere in the mix and was jostling for a spot both in the Indian and his ex-IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders’ playing XI. It was after his move to Delhi Capitals, Kuldeep rejoined the race and is now touted as India’s “trump card” by BCCI chief selector Ajit Agarkar, who has worked closely with the spinner when he was the assistant coach of Delhi Capitals.
“I have spent time with him in the IPL. He’s a guy with special skillset. Every guy needs to be shown faith and the Indian team management has done that and the results are there. He’s a trump card (for us). Most teams are finding him a challenge. All of us are excited for what lies ahead,” noted Agarkar when asked about Kuldeep’s roller-coaster journey during a press conference on Monday.
Kuldeep rested for two ODIs
Meanwhile, the spinner has been rested for the first two encounters of the three-match series against Australia, which gets underway from September 22. Apart from Kuldeep, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Hardik Pandya have also been rested for the opening two clashes. KL Rahul will be leading the unit in Rohit’s absence.