Bridgetown, Barbados: India commenced the ODI series against the West Indies with a resounding five-wicket triumph in the opening match at Bridgetown on Thursday, with their spinners taking centre stage. The left-arm spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja delivered stellar performances, restricting the hosts to a mere 115 runs and paving the way for a comfortable chase. The visitors achieved the target in just 22.5 overs with opener Ishan Kishan’s brilliant knock of 52 off 52 balls, adorned with seven boundaries and a six.
Kuldeep Yadav’s splendid form and evolution as a bowler garnered praise from his fellow teammate, Hanuma Vihari. Acknowledging the significant improvements in Yadav’s game, Vihari commended his enhanced pace and flight, which have become potent weapons in the spinner’s arsenal. Yadav’s diligent work with the bowling coach has been evident in his performances in white-ball cricket, including his successful stints in the IPL.
With the T20 World Cup looming on the horizon, Yadav’s exceptional form bodes well for Team India. His mastery of variations, including the elusive googly, poses a formidable challenge for opposing batsmen, especially left-handers. Vihari emphasised the advantage of having Yadav in top form, giving Team India a valuable asset to exploit against opponents in the global tournament.
India’s dominance in the ODI opener also highlighted the challenges faced by the West Indies batsmen, who struggled against Kuldeep Yadav’s guile and accuracy. Fellow Indian cricketer Abhinav Mukund weighed in on the tactics required to counter Yadav’s prowess. Reading the googly early, having decisive footwork, and playing him down the ground were some of the key elements Mukund emphasised for batsmen to negate Yadav’s threat effectively.
As the series progresses, the West Indies will need to regroup and address their weaknesses against spin, given Kuldeep Yadav’s success and the potential challenges posed by Ravindra Jadeja. With the World Cup approaching, the home side’s batting lineup will have to devise effective strategies to combat India’s spin threat and mount a strong response.