Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav believes it will not be easy for the likes of Joe Root, Jos Buttler, and Ben Stokes to perform in the upcoming four-Test series between India and England which gets underway from Friday at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
England is coming on the back of a thumping 2-0 Test series win in Sri Lanka. England skipper Root was in great touch in the two Tests, accumulating 426 runs at an average of over 100. Buttler scored 131 runs in the three innings he played in Sri Lanka while Ben Stokes was not part of the squad.
“England have definitely played pretty good cricket in Sri Lanka. The way they countered spin bowling in Sri Lanka, they are in a pretty good rhythm and touch. It will be a little challenging for me to execute my plans because I am playing after such a long time,” Kuldeep told ESPNcricinfo while talking about his plans.
“But having seen these batsmen play in one-day cricket and having seen them play against Sri Lanka, I do have good plans. I hope I can execute them,” he added.
England last toured India in 2016 when they faced a crushing 0-4 defeat in the five-Test series.
“Root has time to play his strokes. He also plays spin well off the back foot. Buttler dominates the bowlers really well. That is his strength. Stokes too is similar and keeps the bowler under pressure,” the left-arm spinner said.
“Having said that, it will not be so easy for them to perform in India considering they are playing in India (in Test cricket) after a long time. That also matters. If they perform, then credit will go to them,” he added.
Kuldeep has not played Test cricket for India since 2019. In fact, he was the only player in the Indian squad to have not played a single game in the recently-concluded Border-Gavaskar series — which India won 2-1 — despite being fit.
The 26-year-old said if he gets the first game against England, he would be in a better mental space to feature in the next.
“When you play regular cricket, the confidence comes automatically. If I play the first match, I will be in a better position to play the next game. Mentally I have kept myself very relaxed. Accordingly, my confidence level will be peaking,” said Kuldeep.
India needs to beat England in the Test series by one of the following margins: 2-0, 2-1, 3-0, 3-1, or 4-0 to enter the final of the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) final, slated to be played in June at the Lord’s, London.
For England, any of the following margins will guarantee them a place in the final against New Zealand: 3-0, 3-1, 4-0.
New Zealand has already sealed a spot in the final following postponement of Australia’s three-Test tour to South Africa.