Got up at 3 am, wanted to wake up Virat bhai: Kuldeep Yadav speaks about nervousness ahead of Test debut
Australia were on top with David Warner and Steve Smith in the middle of a great partnership, which had crossed the century mark. India needed to break the partnership to get back into the match and Kuldeep provided just that.Updated: Aug 31, 2020, 15:56 IST
Indian spinner Kuldeep Yadav made a triumphant debut in Test cricket, creating an instant impact in the fourth Test match against Australia in Dharamsala, which India went on to win to grab a keenly contested home series in 2017. While it was Ravindra Jadeja, who was adjudged ‘Man of the match’ due to his all-round display, Kuldeep’s first innings haul of 4/68 is what helped the hosts take control of the match.
“It was an honour! I was on the bench for three matches but kept preparing myself with Anil sir (Kumble), our the then coach. He backed me a lot. He exactly knew the kind of mindset young spinners have. I remember, a day before the debut, we were having lunch together.
“He told me, you are playing tomorrow and I want 5 wickets from you. I was a little intimidated but I confidently said that I would definitely take. I slept early at 9PM and got up at 3AM, confused and nervous. I wanted to wake up Virat bhai who was next doors. But I was sure he would get mad at me. So, I went back to sleep and got up at 6AM.
“Somehow, I managed to spend one hour, ate breakfast and reached the ground. I was quite nervous but felt comfortable the moment all team members joined in. I got my cap and was feeling blank. It is a dream for all young cricketers to play Test cricket and my dream was coming true. I was pretty emotional. I remember I was fielding at deep square leg, and I was still nervous. But then I decided to just react normally like any other Ranji game,” Kuldeep said.
In the match, Australia were on top with David Warner and Steve Smith in the middle of a great partnership, which had crossed the century mark. India needed to break the partnership to get back into the match and Kuldeep provided just that.
He would go on to pick up the important scalps of David Warner, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell and Pat Cummins to break the back of Australia’s batting. Kuldeep said that it took him time to start getting confident on the first day of his international debut.
“When I came to bowl, Steve Smith hit a boundary off a googly in my second over and I realised the difference between international and state level cricket.
“ Following lunch, I just tried to be relaxed and give my best. I started strategizing my game and bowled a few slower ones to David Warner and then mixed it up with a flipper, feeling it might clean him up or trap him LBW. He played the cut straight to the slip. That was my first wicket. It was one of the most happiest moments of my life and I got really emotional. My confidence rose and I got (Peter) Handscomb and (Glenn) Maxwell too.
He also spoke about the emotions he felt after the first day of the match was over
“Once the day got over, I spoke to Sachin sir and he told me a lot of things about how to approach the game. I was flooded with messages and calls. When I was lying on my bed at night and I started reflecting to realise how much I had to struggle to reach that point. I had tears of joy at that moment,” Kuldeep said.