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Every game we play is with the World Cup in mind: Arun

Power of wrist spin: India’s bowling coach B. Arun says that on their day Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav can prove to be match-winners.

Power of wrist spin: India’s bowling coach B. Arun says that on their day Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav can prove to be match-winners.  

India returns to the one-day format for the first time in four months with the series against the West Indies

After dominating the Tests and T20Is at home in the recent past, India returns to the ODI format for the first time in four months, incidentally against the same opponent — West Indies — it last played. The three-match series gets underway at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Sunday.

With the next 50-over World Cup to be held in India in 2023, the preparation for the quadrennial event will begin in earnest from now. Yet, all eyes will primarily be on the back-to-back T20 World Cups, to be played in Australia and India in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Bowling coach B. Arun explained the process here on Friday. “You do plan for the World Cup much ahead. Every game we play is with the World Cup in mind. You want to try out different options and try out players in different circumstances and understand what the best combination is.

“All the players here are resources. How best you utilise them, where one will bat, where one will bowl, and understanding these aspects will be very important for the World Cup,” he said.

One such move for the 2019 World Cup was the decision to back the two wrist spinners — Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav — a partnership whose effectiveness first came to light at the same ground here two years ago against Australia, where the duo picked up five wickets in the middle-overs to script a 26-run win (D/L method).

However, after the loss to England in the World Cup earlier this year, the team-management has started to rethink its strategy and the duo hasn’t been fielded in the XI since then after playing 34 matches together and taking 118 wickets between them.

It is not something that is going to change going forward, gathering from what Arun indicated. “See, we were looking at an ideal combination which gives absolute balance to the team. Also, there was an option, where we could use (Ravindra) Jadeja as an all-rounder.

“So that really helped us and yes, there may be occasions when there are conducive conditions in which both can be playing together. But we will have to look at the overall balance before we decide the team,” said the former India pacer.

In September, Virat Kohli had also indicated that Kuldeep and Chahal’s ability with the bat was also a factor in them not being guaranteed starters in the shorter formats and T20s especially as the team wanted depth in batting.

Multi-skilled players

While Arun said exceptions can be made for match-winners, he reiterated that white-ball cricket demands multi-skilled players. “If you can bat in ODI and T20 cricket, it will give us a different dimension.

“You should be exceptional in at least two skills. If they can bat, it lends more balance to the team. But as it is, Kuldeep and Chahal can be match-winners on their day and when it comes to that, you forego the other aspects. They can win you matches just by one skill alone.”

Arun also had words of encouragement for medium-pacer Deepak Chahar who returns to the ODI squad after one year following impressive performances in the T20s saying he has a variety of skills to succeed at the highest level.

Bhuvi injured

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has joined Shikhar Dhawan in the injured players’ list ahead of the ODI series against the West Indies. With Bhuvneshwar’s groin injury recurring during the T20 series, Mumbai’s Shardul Thakur is set to replace him in the squad.

Meanwhile, West Indies’ Evin Lewis, who suffered an injury in the final T20 in Mumbai, is still a doubtful starter. The opening batsman suffered soft tissue damage to his right knee.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 3:05:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/every-game-we-play-is-with-the-world-cup-in-mind-arun/article30300536.ece

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