Finger vs Wrist: Washington up against Kuldeep, Rahul in three-way battle for final spinner's slot

Kushan Sarkar
·3-min read

New Delhi, Feb 11 (PTI) India's young all-rounder Washington Sundar may have his nose ahead but there will be stiff competition from the wrist spinning duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Rahul Chahar for the third spinner's slot in the second Test match against England, starting Friday.

The BCCI uploaded a video footage of left-arm spin bowling all-rounder Axar Patel's training session and even though it wasn't very conclusive, chances of him replacing Shahbaz Nadeem is pretty high.

Axar looked pretty gingerly with a heavy strapping just below the knee. While batting, he was beaten a few times by the pacers.

However, the team's youngest player -- spin bowling all-rounder Washington -- after his listless show with the ball in the series opener, might be in for some tough competition from left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav and right-arm leg spinner Rahul Chahar.

A final decision by the team's think-tank will be taken after the final practice session on Friday.

It is understood that the new pitch, which is darker in shade, is expected to offer turn and bounce much earlier compared to the late third day afternoon in the first Test.

Accordingly, India skipper Virat Kohli's lack of faith in Washington's finger spinners was evident during the England second innings on the fourth day when the pitch actually offered square turn at times with variable bounce.

'That Kohli gave Washington only one over was an indication that his first innings performance was rankling the skipper. Actually, he missed out on a chance to check if Washington was good enough when the ball turns square,' a former India player, who is watching the proceedings closely from Chennai, told PTI on the condition of anonymity.

'In terms of batting, he is definitely best among the spinners but his primary skill is not at the Test level and do you play him as a batting all-rounder, is the question.' When former selectors Jatin Paranjape and MSK Prasad were contacted, both felt that Washington should play but India must also prefer the attacking option of Kuldeep's wrist spin.

'I think if we are going for a rank turner, then Kuldeep is the best option for me. He has been around the group for significant time and I believe being around somebody like Bharat Arun has only helped him. I feel Kuldeep should replace Nadeem as Washy deserves another chance,' Paranjape told PTI.

Prasad echoed similar opinion as Kuldeep is a wicket-taking option.

'Look, I can understand that Rahul Chahar has been included in the squad but Kuldeep has experience of high pressure Test match like when he made his debut in Mohali against Australia. Washington batted beautifully and should get another chance,' Prasad said.

In Rahul's favour, his fast leg breaks on turning tracks is an asset considering that Kuldeep is slower through the air.

'Grateful (sic) for this opportunity,' Chahar tweeted a picture of his from the nets where he was seen getting tips from bowling coach Bharath Arun. PTI KHS KHS AH AH