Kuldeep Yadav, a wristspinner, would have been an ideal addition to the second innings of the Mirpur Test match, according to India’s acting captain KL Rahul, if a “Impact Player” regulation had been in existence. Surprisingly, Kuldeep, who was named Player of the Match in the first Test in Chattogram for taking eight wickets, was benched for the second Test because Jaydev Unadkat was favoured by the team management. The judgement drew harsh condemnation from cricket fans and commentators.
“If we had Impact Player rule here like in the IPL, I would have loved to have Kuldeep in the second innings,” said KL Rahul. “It was a tough call [on the first morning], knowing and understanding that he had just won the [Chattogram] Test for us. But seeing the pitch before the game and on the first day, we felt that there will be assistance for both fast bowlers and spinners. Keeping that in mind we wanted to play the best balanced team we can. And that’s the call we made,” he added.
“I don’t regret that, and that was the right decision. If you see the 20 wickets we took, a lot of wickets [ten] even the fast bowlers took. They had a lot of assistance and there was a lot of inconsistent bounce. All these decisions we took keeping in mind the experience of playing here [Mirpur] in the ODIs,” said the 30-year-old. Unadkat, on the other hand, did not let down, recording final stats of 2/50 in the first innings and 1/17 in the second. Chasing 145, India was struggling at 74/7 on Day 4 when an unbroken 71-run eighth wicket partnership between Ravichandran Ashwin (42*) and Shreyas Iyer (29*) turned the tide in their favour.