'I was shocked but couldn't do anything': Kuldeep Yadav admits having self-doubts, recalls being low on confidence
- Kuldeep Yadav calls the last year of his professional career a difficult period, revealing how thoughts of self-doubts crept in after being benched regularly.
Kuldeep Yadav has not had the best 12 months of his professional career after not featuring in the team as much as he'd have liked to. The wrist-spinner reveals he battled thoughts of self-doubts and confidence as he continued to get benched in the Test series against Australia and England. Kuldeep had taken a five-wicket-haul in Sydney against Australia in January of 2019 but had to wait for over two years to next get a Test match for India. As he featured in India's XI in the second Test against England in Chennai earlier this year, Kuldeep admitted being under a lot of pressure.
"I didn't play as many matches as I expected to, and somewhere I was low on confidence. When you are playing non-stop, players do feel high on confidence. The more one sits out the more it gets tougher. I felt a huge pressure on me when I played the Test against England in Chennai this February (his last Test was in January 2019). Due to Covid there was nothing happening, so things got really tougher even more last year. It wasn't the best period," Kuldeep told The Indian Express in an interview.
Kuldeep, who was not picked in India's 20-member squad for the WTC final and the Test series in England, calls the last year of his professional career a difficult period, revealing how thoughts of self-doubts crept in after being benched regularly, which forced him to question himself. In fact, it reached a stage that there was a time the spinner felt serving drinks is 'the best'.
"Sometimes I felt, 'what is going on?'. It was difficult times. Sometimes, the mind says, 'ab shayad woh Kuldeep nahi rahe' (Perhaps, I am not the same Kuldeep). Sometimes I feel, 'no, I am still the same' and I wait for the opportunity," Kuldeep said.
"There were days when you feel serving drinks and being on the bench is for the best – yaar yeh to best seat hai apne liye – and then but there are days you don’t want to be in that place. I would think, I should have been there playing. I tried to motivate myself every time. I try to be happy and feel that I am bowling well. There was self-doubt somewhere. It happens with everyone, I started questioning myself."
The tip of the iceberg for Kuldeep was when the wrist-spinner did not feature in even a single game for Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2021 season of the IPL. KKR played seven matches with Kuldeep getting benched in all.
"I was, especially when I didn't find a place in my IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders. I wondered, 'am I that bad?' It's a team-management decision and it would be wrong to go and ask them," Kuldeep responded when asked if we depressed.
"I wasn't played in Chennai during the IPL despite knowing it's a turner. I was a bit shocked but couldn't do anything. The bio-bubble life has also thrown challenges for everyone. When I am not playing, nothing looks nice."