India are going into the semi-final and which team they are going to play will be decided after the completion of the match between South Africa and Australia. But after the end of their last bowling innings before the semis, against Sri Lanka, there is one big question looming over the Virat Kohli-led side. Who will be the spinner or spinners in the Indian playing XI when they play the knockout match.
The partnership of Yuzvendrda Chahal and Ravindra Jadeja had been performing brilliantly till the game against England where both wrist spinners got ravaged by the combination of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow. This prompted India to drop Kuldeep, though he managed to register a good comeback later on in the match, for the game against Bangladesh. For the match against Sri Lanka, Yadav was back and Chahal out with Ravindra Jadeja getting a go.
Jaddu performed brilliantly in the match, thereby making himself a big contender for playing in the semi-final. Kuldeep, on the other hand, proved expensive. So, who is it going to be? Will India play one spinner or two? Both these questions would trouble the team management. Let's look at each of the three contenders closely and analyse their prospects.
The most experienced of the three, Jadeja is also the most accurate bowler among them. India can rely on him to bowl a tight line and length and not give away too many runs. If there is turn in the wicket, his pace and trajectory may make things harder for the batsmen. However, some batsmen have tried counter-attacking him and have succeeded. Since he is a flat and quick bowler, if the pitch is not spinning, good batsmen would figure out a way to deal with him easily. He doesn't quite have the flight and guile which Kuldeep and Chahal posess.
A bowler of high-quality, Kuldeep has bowled some of the best spells of this tournament. He has two great qualities. One, he has got a great bag of tricks, like the chinaman googly, that can confuse the batsmen. Two, he has the traditional quality of beating the batsman in the flight and use subtle variations of pace and line to good effect. Even if the pitch is not spinning, he can use his class to great effect. However, having missed a game against Bangladesh, he may be lacking confidence and his lack of success against Sri Lanka may strengthen the case against him.
Another bowler with a great box of tricks, Chahal can fool any batsman with his googly. However, his weakness has been lack of consistency. He has had many great matches as well as some really bad ones. While Kuldeep has shown the ability to make a comeback after going for runs, Chahal seems to struggle. He doesn't seem to have the same mastery of the old-fashioned qualities of spin bowling like using variations of flight to deceive the batsman as Kuldeep. However, when he is in song, Kuldeep can take on the best batting line-ups.