Last Updated: December 25, 2022, 4:46 PM IST
It was a call that dominated discussions during the first day of the 2nd Test between India and Bangladesh in Dhaka which concluded on Sunday. Making his Test return after 22 months, left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav produced a career-best show with the ball as he took eight wickets in the match besides scoring 40 valuable runs with the bat lower down the order to play a key role in his team’s victory.
In a surprising turn of events though, after spotting that the pitch might be more conducive to fast bowling, India decided to play an extra pacer in Jaydev Unadkat who made a Test comeback after 12 years and dropped Kuldeep, their top performer from the first Test.
The decision nearly came to bite them back after Bangladesh left-arm spinner took a five-wicket haul to push India in a deep hole while chasing 145 in their second innings. As luck would have it, the KL Rahul-led side managed to recover thanks to an unbeaten partnership between Ravichandran Ashwin and Shreyas Iyer to avoid a defeat and complete a 2-0 clean sweep.
When asked if they made a mistake by dropping Kuldeep, stand-in captain Rahul replied, “I don’t regret the decision. It was a right decision. If you look at the wickets, our fast bowlers too have taken many wickets and they had a lot of assistance. There was a lot of inconsistent bounce. We took the decision keeping in mind our experience of playing here in the ODIs. We saw there’s assistance for both spin and bounce. It was to have a balanced side and I think it was a right call.”
While interacting with the media post the series win, Rahul admitted that it was a tough call and if there was ‘Impact Player’ rule for Test cricket, he would have certainly summoned in Kuldeep in the second innings.
Impact Player is a new rule which will be put into action from IPL 2023 where a team will be allowed to make a substitution during a match.
“It was really a tough call, knowing that he won us the last Test. But seeing the pitch a day before the game, we felt that there would be assistance for both fast bowlers and seamers and keeping that in mind we wanted to play the best and balanced team that we can,” Rahul said.
“Ideally, if the Impact Player rule was there — like in the IPL — I would have definitely loved to bring Kuldeep in the second innings,” he added.