Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra feels that wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav's exclusion from India's squad for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand in England was "little harsh".
Following his five-wicket haul in Sydney in the 2018/19 tour of Australia, Kuldeep was hailed by the Indian coach as their primary spinner for overseas Tests. But has since failed to feature in any of the Test series that India played. In fact, he was among the few travelling players of the Indian squad who did not get the opportunity to play in the 2020/21 Test series in Australia. Players like Shabaz Nadeem and Axar Patel were instead picked ahead of him.
On Friday, BCCI announced the 20-member squad for the finl, but Kuldeep was not part of the list.
"Personally, even Kuldeep Yadav's exclusion is a little harsh. He has not played too much cricket, so to make the formal opinion that he does not make the cut, I feel that he is a little hard done by," Chopra said during a discussion on ESPNCricinfo.
"He bowled only one Test against England, on a raging turner. Picked up a couple of wickets at the end. Did not play the pink-ball Test. Now he is not playing the entire series.
"Not just the WTC final, but also the five-match Test series against England. In Covid times, you have the luxury of playing larger squads, so why not Kuldeep Yadav," Chopra added.
Chopra felt that Kuldeep's addition would have proven handy for India given England's struggle against leg-spin, rather than including four finger-spinners in Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Washington Sundar and Axar.
"You get as many as four-spin bowling options - Ashwin, Jadeja, Sundar, and Axar Patel - but all of them are finger-spinners. So, why not a wrist spinner against a side that tends to struggle against them," Chopra signed off.