Kuldeep or Chahal? - Manjrekar reveals his choice for India's lead wristspinner for 2023 World Cup
Sanjay Manjrekar revealed his preferred choice for India's lead wristspinner ahead of the 2023 World Cup. The former India batter turned commentator picked out a name among spin twins Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, analysing their strengths and who fits the bill in India's plans for the quadrennial event.
While the two young tweakers are expected to make the squad, only one of them is likely to make the playing XI unless the team management finds a rare turning track and opposition match-up to unleash them together.
With premier spin allrounder Ravindra Jadeja cementing the No.7 spot, India have tended to pick three specialist quicks backed by pace allrounder Hardik Pandya, who bats No.6, and only one wristspinner to make up their six-bowler combination ever since Pandya's injury status has plagued his bowling self and not left him ripe to bowl the full quota.
Things were different when Pandya would provide India with 10 overs as the designated fifth, not the sixth, bowler and the team could unleash the 'Kulcha' at their peak honeymoon period to run through sides at home and away.
Manjrekar picks Kuldeep above Chahal for 2023 World Cup
Speaking on ESPNcricinfo's 'Run-Order' show, Manjrekar said he understands it would only be a rare scenario for India to play Kuldeep and Chahal together at the 2023 World Cup and if he were to make the choice between the two, the former India player would go with the rejuvenated Kuldeep.
"I don't think so. Very rarely it can happen depending on the opposition. If there is a real weakness in the opposition to play wrist-spin, then you have Kuldeep Yadav and Chahal both playing in the XI," Manjrekar said.
"I see Chahal being part of the squad but I prefer Kuldeep Yadav when it comes to wrist-spin as the spinner in 50-over cricket. I am getting a little technical here. You need a spinner who can get wickets of batters while they are pushing, not hitting the big shots," he added.
After struggling for a few years with his speed and alignment post the 2019 World Cup, Kuldeep has regained his mojo in the previous months for India in 50-overs cricket.
Since the home series against South Africa last October, the left-armer has bagged 22 scalps in his 12 outings at 21.63 apiece, replacing Chahal in the line-up as the sole wristspinner.