India's left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav has recently been in the headlines for all the right reasons. However, former England captain Alec Stewart believes that Test matches in England will be a different ball game for the young spinner. Kuldeep Yadav was named in the 18-member India squad for the first three Tests against England that also features Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Explaining the practical difficulties that Kuldeep might face in Test cricket with different weather conditions coming into play, Stewart said that he will have to adapt to the English conditions in order to make the same impact as he did in the ODIs and T20Is.
"All of a sudden, he won't have four men at the boundary. He will have four men around the bat, and the batsmen don't have to try and score with a positive intent. Can he bowl enough good balls and ask questions of the batsmen as he had done in white-ball cricket?" Stewart told PTI.
"In ODIs and T20Is, you can get away with bad balls with batsmen getting caught off full tosses (Eoin Morgan) or sweep slogging caught at deep midwicket (Jason Roy). Would Kuldeep have those fields in a Test? Would batsmen play those types of shots? No, instead, it will be a game of cat and mouse and it remains to be seen if Kuldeep can make those adjustments for Test cricket in England," Stewart further added.
Talking about how Joe Root's successful decoding of Kuldeep during ODIs will have a bearing on the Test series, Stewart said, "A mystery spinner creates doubts if you haven't faced much of him, and it makes for great cricket when the batsmen are trying to figure out from 18-22 yards, which way it will go. But England, especially Joe Root, started to work out Kuldeep since Lord's and the question is how Kuldeep is going to bowl in Test cricket," Stewart said.
Meanwhile, Stewart threw some light on how and who Kohli might choose in his playing XI.
"I am a massive fan of Ashwin and he is an impressive performer. Jadeja has had some good success against England as well. But if someone has got mystery, you might want to play him," Steward remarked.
"Virat, as a captain, is very positive and will back an attacking bowler. He will possibly believe that Kuldeep has more to offer than Ashwin or Jadeja, and then that's the route Virat will take. And then the wrist spinner has to perform, and replicate with the red ball what he has done with the white ball. We won't know until he (Kuldeep Yadav) is given a go," said Stewart.
(With PTI Inputs)