Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Hosts India will lock horns with England in a five-match Test series starting in Hyderabad on January 25.

When a Test series is played in India, spinners have a better edge than pacers and it’s not even a secret anymore. Every team that comes for a tour to India knows that they will need to have a sufficient amount of patience and skills to be able to counter Indian spinners who are very smart in their home conditions.

The selectors have picked as many as four spinners in the squad for the first two Tests in Hyderabad and Vishakhapatnam. The onus will be on the spinners to put India in the driver’s seat.

While two veteran spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin are almost certain to play the first Test, the Indian management will gamble upon either Axar Patel or Kuldeep Yadav as the third option to support the veteran spinners.

Many experts believe that Kuldeep will be a good option as he will bring in variety through his wrist spin. However, former India off-spinner turned expert Harbhajan Singh has backed all-rounder Axar to start ahead of left-arm chinaman Kuldeep due to the latter’s ability with the bat and pair along with Ashwin and Jadeja.

As per Bhajji, Axar due to his superiority with the bat, should be picked over the chinaman. He also claimed that if India are looking for variation then Kuldeep will be a good option but picking Axar will ensure they have depth in their batting order.

“The way I look at it is that when both Ashwin and Jadeja are in playing eleven and you are looking at a third specialist spinner, it should be Kuldeep. Because Kuldeep as a wrist spinner will bring that variation. But I believe Axar’s selection in Test matches is purely on his batting skills. At No 8 or 9, he can bat and that’s what he brings to the table,” said Harbhajan during a recent interaction.

Bhajji also said that said that India’s batting performance in excessive turning tracks has not been that great and that is why it becomes even more important for them to have a longer batting tail.

Also ReadT20 World Cup 2024: 3 Indian U-19 players in USA team to play against Men in Blue