David-Willey
David Willey during the first T20I © Getty Images

David Willey has accused India of not playing within the spirit of the game during the first T20 International against England , at Old Trafford. Their Indian bowlers, especially Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Kuldeep Yadav, had repeatedly pulled out of their delivery strides, as reported by cricket.com.au. Willey and Bhuvi were involved in a terse exchange at the time when the former thought the latter guilty of the same during the last over of the England innings.

According to Willey, Kuldeep apparently started it, pulling out of his stride for no clear reason at least twice in four overs while bowling to Jos Buttler.

Willey explained the last-over incident involving Bhuvi: “I’m guessing, but I think he [Bhuvi] was looking to see what I was going to do. They did that a few times. The spinners did it a couple of times. I’m not sure what the rules are on that. I don’t particularly like it. I don’t think it is necessarily in the spirit of cricket. It’s not my job to comment on that too much on what they should or shouldn’t be doing. Personally, I don’t think I’d do that. I don’t think it is great.”

KL Rahul, on the other hand, accused England’s non-strikers of backing up too far: ”It will frustrate me as a batsman, it did I guess frustrate the English batsmen but the margin for error for bowlers in T20 cricket is very little so whatever tactics they can come up with and whatever they try to do to upset the batsmen is only fair.”

He also defended his teammates: “You know you can do it as a bowler, you can run a batsman out, he was taking few strides too many and it is a long boundary and if he gets that much start he can keep rotating the strike and keep getting two runs which will frustrate the bowler in return, so it’s only fair.”

England were all at sea against Kuldeep. They are currently practising against Merlyn, their spin-bowling machine. Willey expects the match to be a lively one: “They have a few fiery characters and that is part and parcel of cricket. It has gone on for years. I don’t mind a bit of confrontation. I have had my fair share of it in the past. If it comes my way I am quite happy to get involved.”

Rahul, on the other hand, doesn’t believe any team would have coped with Kuldeep’s devastating spell (4-0-24-5) that included 3 wickets in an over: ”I don’t think it is just England. A good wrist-spinner is a good wrist-spinner against any opposition. With the kind of skill and quality Kuldeep and Yuzvendra Chahal have, it’s always going to be hard for a team that doesn’t play spin a lot. What Kuldeep did was special … [to bowl] balls like that against [Jonny] Bairstow and [Joe] Root … Always hard for a middle-order batsman.”