Nagpur: "We haven't ousted anyone but made use of opportunities that we got," was how young chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav responded when asked if Yuzvendra Chahal and his performances have literally shut the ODI door on veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
The wrist spinner duo of Chahal and Kuldeep have been regular feature in India's ODI format confining finger spinner Ashwin to the sidelines and relegating Ravindra Jadeja as the third specialist spinner.
"No, no, not at all. We haven't ousted anyone. It's just that we have got the opportunities and we did well. They (Ashwin and Jadeja) have always been doing well for India. In Test matches, Ash (Ravichandran Ashwin) and Jaddu Bhai (Ravindra Jadeja) are still playing," Kuldeep said on the eve of the second ODI.
Since it was a leading question, Kuldeep made an extra effort to make it clear that the perception of wrist spinners getting preferential treatment compared to finger spinners.
"We learn a lot from them (Ashwin and Jadeja). They have a lot of experience. When I am in the Test squad, I learn a lot from them. Whenever we got an opportunity, for me and Chahal, we have performed for the team and that helped the team to win, so happy about it," Kuldeep waxed eloquent about the kind of relation that the duo share with the senior pair.
In the first game, Kuldeep bowled well and got two wickets while Jadeja despite going wicketless was very economical. With Chahal also waiting for his chance, Kuldeep is happy that all spinners are bowling well.
"To be honest, myself, (Yuzvendra Chahal) and Jaddu bhai (Ravindra Jadeja) are playing really well so nothing much to worry about and we are focusing game by game," added Kuldeep.
Quizzed if he has ever felt pressure while bowling to any batsmen, he said: "No one to be very honest. There are few players, who have played me well and I am not afraid of getting hit."
However Shaun Marsh, according to Kuldeep is one batsman, who has really played him well.
"Shaun Marsh is a very good player of spin bowling. In Australia, Shaun Marsh was playing really well (against me) and they (team management) wanted to give me a break for a couple of games.
"After that I studied Marsh's batting and saw him playing a lot of deliveries on the front-foot and it paid off. But it will be important how I bowl to him in the next game if he plays," he said.
Having already played 12 ODIs against Australia, there is a sense of familiarity about the opposition batting line-up.
"Of course, it been two years (now) I am playing international cricket and I have almost played 10-12 matches against Australia in One Day format. Nowadays, video analysis is there, it is not very hard to pick a bowler.
To add another dimension to his game, Kuldeep has now started devoting extra time on his batting under the watchful eyes of assistant coach Sanjay Bangar.
"Of course, batting is important be it in One Days or Test cricket. I am focussing more on batting, every session I am batting for 20-odd minutes. Batting becomes important in some of the close matches and I am working with Sanjay Sir (Assistant coach Sanjay Bangar)," he signed off....