February 16, 2019

Kohli calls Kuldeep, Chahal as `brave bowlers`

10 February 2018, 06:46 | Anna Jefferson

Rilee Rossouw

Rilee Rossouw

South Africa's failure to come to grips with the magic that spin twins Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav are weaving hurt them again at Cape Town as they fell to a 124 run defeat against India.

Not only have Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav wrecked the backbone of South Africa's batting with frequent wickets (one in every 15 balls) but have done it at an incredible economy of 3.63 and an average of 9.05.

De Villiers's return is a massive boost for a depleted South African batting line-up and they would hope that he dons the Joe Root-like role in the batting line-up.

23-year-old Kuldeep has played two Tests while Chahal, 27, is yet to make his debut in the five-day format. If a ball is not picked off the hand, he'll lose that crucial fraction of a second that he can use to get into position.

"We knew they would pick up wickets (here) because these guys have bowled in flatter batting tracks at home".

India have taken an unprecedented 3-0 lead in the series, which moves to Johannesburg for the fourth ODI on Saturday.

With this in mind, Kohli has no plans to change their approach, especially with the 2019 World Cup fast approaching.

"They get lot out of the air".

They might want to resort to stealing singles and looking to take four-five runs every over from the spinners with a boundary being an added bonus. "Going ahead in these conditions now, and we are going to play the World Cup away from home, that I think is going to be the massive factor for us". Some might think they have bowled in T20 cricket when the conditions are very, very hard and they have picked up wickets on a regular basis you know.

"It's outstanding to see two guys totally spinning a web around the opposition". There doesn't seem to be a way out at all. It's unbelievable. Taking eight wickets today.

Kohli said the duo has been fearless in going after wickets even at the risk of conceding a few runs. I don't have words to explain. "But they are very fearless and even on flatter pitches, where wrist spinners come (more) into play, they have made the difference between both sides", he added.

Not until India have played England in England - also the venue for the 2019 50-over World Cup - will they come up with a core for the marquee tournament.

Barring Faf du Plessis (who played in a single game and made a fighting hundred), Hashim Amla (who never faced either Kuldeep or Chahal in this series) and Tabraiz Shamsi (who faced just a single ball in this series), all the other South African players (12 of them) have fallen at least once to either Chahal or Kuldeep in this series.

Kohli was amazed to see Chahal and Kuldeep winning matches for the side, so much so that he would not deny that the duo could soon push for places in the Test side. "They are courageous and even on flatter pitches, wrist spinners will also come into play", he explained. But there is no problem in that because you know that if they bowl attacking lines then they will end up picking 2-3 wickets every game.

Kuldeep and Chahal are asked to go for wickets at all times and Kohli says he isn't anxious about them leaking runs, "The thing is very simple", Kohli said. When you are going for wickets you are bowling in areas that are uncomfortable for the batsmen and more often than not they end up defending. "So you are always going to be a little bit tentative", JP Duminy was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo after the third ODI. Every over they've asked two-three questions of the batsmen, that is something outstanding.

Also heartening is the fact both spinners have been creative in finding ways to take wickets, even in South Africa where the conditions do not usually favour spinners.

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