On the eve of the first ODI between India and Australia series, chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav has revealed that he remains unperturbed by the visitors’ attempts to nullify the threat posed by India’s youngest spin prodigy. Returning to the team hotel, after a hard day of practice at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Kuldeep Yadav spoke to the Indianexpress.com at length about the upcoming ODI series, his relationship with the senior players of the Indian dressing room and how he remains unruffled about batsmen picking up his deliveries.
Australia called upon local spinner KK Jiyas to help them prepare for an encounter with Kuldeep Yadav in the upcoming ODI series. Aware of these tactics, Kuldeep said, “No doubt the Australian batsmen will be going through the videos and practicing various tactics to counter my bowling. However, I am unperturbed by them and am concentrating on my basics. My focus is on controlling the ball and working on my strengths. They faced me during the Tests and know how I ball, but the pressure will be on them to counter me.”
Adding that his skill isn’t something out of the box, Yadav added, “I have no worries as long as I turn the ball both ways, if I flight or deceive the batsman, No matter how many videos or how many bowlers he faces at nets it won’t make a difference. I am not bowling any mystery ball, my basics are normal and hence I like to keep things simple.”
However, Yadav knows that soon or later the opposition might get a hang of his art but it doesn’t deter his confidence. “Yes, they might start picking me better but if I can keep bowling in the correct areas then I will keep troubling the batsman. So I believe that I don’t have to worry about batsman and only look towards improving my skills.”
“Playing in India will be an advantage as conditions might assist the spinners. However, it will be a challenge to face the Aussies as they are reputed to play good and competitive cricket. So it will be a good rivalry”, he added.
In the recently concluded overseas tours of West Indies and Sri Lanka, a lot of faith was instilled on the wrist spinners by the Indian think-tank. For 22-year-old, this has resulted in a huge boost in his confidence.
“Wrist spinners are an asset for any team. They can pick wickets but. So it is an opportunity unity for us to develop under the leadership of Virat Kohli and guidance of Ravi Shastri.”, Kuldeep said.
On the role that Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni have played in his development, Kuldeep described them as inspirational leaders and mentioned that both allow him to express freely on the field. “Mahi bhai and Virat bhai support me a lot. As a spinner and a bowler, Kohli bhai gives complete freedom, something which is needed by youngsters. Behind the stumps, Mahi bhai keeps talking to me during a game and gives me crucial insights. There can be nothing better for a youngster than having the guidance of the two senior-most players in a team and I am proud to play under them.
Among his varied deliveries, the Kanpur lad also has several other variations among which is a potent flipper. With so many weapons in his arsenal, Kuldeep still backs his chinaman as his biggest strength and calls his it is favorite delivery.
“I have been learning all the variations since my childhood and now my aim is to control them. I always back my strength which is my chinaman delivery. I have a few variations up my arsenal and they have helped my bowling. They are useful when the batsman tends to attack but when I am under pressure I always back my chinaman delivery to get me wickets because it is my biggest strength. I am known for this skill and this my favorite delivery.”
While Yadav’s venture and rise in international cricket has not been sudden, those following the game will recall he was the star of the U-19 world cup in 2013. Back then he became the first bowler (in U-19 cricket history) to have taken a hat-trick. His performances also drew comparisons with legendary Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne.
Assessing his development since then, Yadav said that as compared to U-19 level, not only has he improved as a cricketer but matured as a person, especially after spending time with the seniors. Another person who has been instrumental in his development is current Indian bowling coach Bharat Arun. “Since my U-16 career, Bharat Arun has been witnessing my development. So it is very easy for me to work him. He understands my nuances very well and hence helps me to rectify my problems very smoothly,” he said.
Meanwhile, looking ahead at the future when Kuldeep was asked as to how many years he would like to play at the international level, he said that fitness will be a key factor as to how long his career prolongs. “Ultimately the goal is to play Test cricket for a long time and pick up as many wickets as possible. If performance is up to the mark then maybe as a spinner I can play for 10-15 years,” Yadav said.
When asked as to which format of the game, was his favourite, Kuldeep stated that Test cricket is the real challenge. “Test cricket is something that I like more than any other format as it poses a real challenge. But fo, now it is better that I keep playing all the three formats,” he signed off.