Pakistan’s batting line-up faced a significant setback during the 2023 World Cup match against India, primarily due to their struggles against Kuldeep Yadav. Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram expressed his concerns regarding this issue, emphasizing that he had raised it during the Asia Cup.
Kuldeep Yadav, the left-arm wrist spinner, is renowned for his skillful and deceptive deliveries. His ability to extract turns and disguise his variations makes him a formidable opponent for any batting side. In the 2023 World Cup match, Kuldeep demonstrated his brilliance by trapping Saud Shakeel lbw and cleaning up Iftikhar Ahmed. His remarkable figures of 2/35 in 10 overs attest to his prowess.
Wasim Akram, a cricketing legend known for his expertise, expressed concern regarding Kuldeep’s potential to trouble Pakistan’s middle-order batsmen. He pointed out that he had raised this issue during the Asia Cup, indicating that the think tank should have paid heed to his warning.
Wasim stated, “Mai tab se keh raha tha yeh Kuldeep tang karega Pakistan ke middle order batters ko, think tank sun lete. (Since the Asia Cup, I said that Kuldeep would trouble Pakistan’s middle order; the think tank should’ve listened to me). At this level, they should pick the spinners [types of deliveries].”
Cricket, particularly at the international level, involves thorough preparation and analysis. Batsmen must read the spin, anticipate deliveries, and adapt accordingly. Kuldeep Yadav’s success against Pakistan’s middle order during the World Cup match raises questions about the team’s preparation and the players’ ability to read the spinner.
Wasim Akram supported his argument with compelling statistics. Kuldeep’s performance against Pakistan was nothing short of dominant. In the matches this year, he has claimed seven wickets with an average of 8.57 and an economy rate of 3.33. These numbers vividly illustrate the challenges Pakistan’s middle-order batsmen faced. It’s not merely about reading the delivery; it’s about seeing it.
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“The batting coach doesn’t have to [give them the plan]. They are playing for the country. This year, Kuldeep has taken seven wickets against Pakistan; the average is 8.57, and the economy rate is 3.33. He is playing against people who can’t see his [bowling]. Read to kya dekh bhi nahi sakte ab (They can’t even see his bowling, forget about reading the delivery).” Former Pakistani skipper concluded.
The role of the think tank in any cricket team is crucial. The coaches and strategists are responsible for devising plans and strategies to counter opponents’ strengths and exploit their weaknesses. In the case of Pakistan, the think tank could have played a more proactive role in preparing the team to face Kuldeep Yadav’s spin.