Home Cricket Rahul Dravid Hints at Major Change in India’s Playing XI for Afghanistan...

Rahul Dravid Hints at Major Change in India’s Playing XI for Afghanistan Clash

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India head coach Rahul Dravid all but confirmed one change in the team for the T20 World Cup Super 8 match against Afghanistan.

Kuldeep Yadav Likely to Feature in Caribbean Leg

Without giving too much away, India head coach Rahul Dravid hinted at the possibility of playing wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav in the Caribbean leg of the T20 World Cup, starting with the Super 8 opener against Afghanistan. India did not play either Kuldeep or Yuzvendra Chahal in the USA leg of the tournament considering the pace-friendly conditions. However, the conditions are different in the Caribbean where wrist spinners have already made an impact with Adam Zampa being a case in point.

Possible Team Changes

India could drop a pacer and include Kuldeep in the team. When asked how tough it was to leave Kuldeep, who has been India’s standout spinner over the past 12 months, out of the playing eleven in the USA, Dravid said, “It’s tough to leave anyone out. I mean, all the four guys that we left out in those games, to be honest, are all quality players. It’s just that the conditions and what we felt was the requirement in that particular venue made us go with that particular combination where we felt that there wasn’t a huge role for spin and it was more of pace, more of kind of conditions.

“And we also wanted to ensure that we had the depth on those tricky kinds of wickets. So that’s what we went there with. You know, it might be different here. Without giving too much away, certainly. You know, it might be slightly different here. That you might need an extra spinner and then someone like Kuldeep or Yuzi can come into play. They become a very good factor for us,” said Dravid ahead of the Afghanistan fixture.

Improved Batting Approach

India were guilty of being too conservative in their approach in the previous two editions of the T20 World Cup, but Dravid feels the team has turned the tide on that front.

“We have actually been able to push the needle forward in terms of our batting there. Sometimes in certain conditions, you just got to be mindful of conditions also. Sometimes we just get carried away with pushing the needle forward in T20 cricket.

“Cricket is a very condition-specific game. It’s one of the only sports left where the surface makes such an impact on the actual skill levels, the actual performance levels, what is an acceptable performance level.

“It’s one sport that we play where the surface makes a huge difference, and it has to be brought into consideration at all times. And I think we saw that in the US that it had to be brought into consideration not only for us but for other teams as well,” said the outgoing India coach.

Wind Factor at Kensington Oval

Dravid expects the wind to be a factor at the Kensington Oval on Thursday, bringing the fast bowlers like the tournament’s leading wicket-taker Fazalhaq Farooqi into play.

“It is not just their spinners, their pacers are also experienced and doing well. Afghanistan is a very dangerous team in this format of the game. They play a lot of T20 cricket, and their cricketers are very prominent members of their IPL teams. They have shown that with their performances in the World Cup.”

Excitement for the Caribbean Leg

Dravid loves the cricket culture in the Caribbean and is looking forward to the business end of the tournament. He was cheekily reminded by a scribe on India’s infamous Test defeat against the West Indies at this venue back in 1997 when the visitors were bundled out for 81 chasing 120 on a treacherous pitch.

“It’s also lovely to come to the Caribbean, you know, come to Barbados, come to this ground which has a great history, a great tradition of great cricket. We’ve had a couple of days of really good practice. We are ready, we rested, we feel we are prepared.”

With the hint of including Kuldeep Yadav in the playing XI, India looks to adapt to the conditions in the Caribbean. The team’s improved batting approach and readiness for the tournament’s business end suggest a thrilling match against Afghanistan. Fans will be eagerly watching to see if Dravid’s strategies pay off in this crucial Super 8 clash.