India vs New Zealand: 84 runs in 10 overs; third most expensive spell by an Indian spinner - What has happened to Kuldeep Yadav?
IND vs NZ: Kuldeep Yadav’s recent outing against New Zealand in Hamilton, where he was taken for 84 runs has once again brought into light his recent misery.Updated: Feb 06, 2020, 14:19 IST
After the ICC Champions Trophy final loss to Pakistan in 2017, the Indian team management decided to make a big change to their strategy in limited overs cricket. Out went the finger spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja and in came the young spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. What followed was a stupendous spell of success in both T20 cricket and one-day internationals.
The left arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav struck the form of his life as he finished 2018 as the second most successful tweaker in ODIs behind Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan. Kuldeep’s variety and guile was proving too much for international batsmen to handle. With 45 wickets from 20 matches at an average of 17.77 and economy of 4.64 in 2018, Kuldeep was being looked at as India’s biggest trump card going into the 2019 ICC World Cup in England.
But something changed in the months preceding the big event in June-July. Kuldeep endured his worst ever IPL season, the tournament that put him into the spotlight first, picking up only 4 wickets in 9 outings for Kolkata Knight Riders. The shadow of a poor IPL loomed large over Kuldeep as he struggled to live up to his reputation in the World Cup as well.
In an interview to Hindustan Times during the IPL season Kuldeep had said, “I really want to learn the skill so that I could avoid getting hit. Sometimes the batsman is able to hit you but my strength lies in giving air to the ball, in being able to spin the ball, and I back myself. But this is an aspect where I want to improve because it is good to be attacking but you have to think of the team as well and be able to save runs too.”
An out an out wicket taker, who gave a new spark to India’s spin attack in limited overs cricket, wanted to contain runs. What and how did he start thinking on these lines. Is this the reason behind Kuldeep’s recent struggles. Well, one can only speculate but the numbers are clearly showing that the chinaman bowler has been a far cry from his impressive start.
Kuldeep finished 2019 with 35 wickets from 23 matches. The average had gone up to 34.68 and that was primarily because of a steep hike in his economy rate, which stood at 5.33. His recent outing against New Zealand in Hamilton, where he was taken for 84 runs has once again brought into light his recent misery.
Kuldeep when he began always knew how to come back, despite being attacked. This Kuldeep it seems gets into a shell once he starts going for runs. The defensive streak in his approach is clear and that could be hurting the talented tweaker.
Former India left arm spinner Maninder Singh has another theory. He pointed out a technical flaw in Kuldeep’s bowling, which he thinks needs to be fixed as soon as possible for him to regain confidence and boost his performance.
“I have been saying this from the day when he became successful that Kuldeep has a technical flaw in his action and if that is not looked into he will get caught out soon. His front arm drops very quickly, because of which the life in the ball (the revolutions and pace on the ball) is not as much as it should be to sustain success.
“He has got caught out now. He has played a lot of international cricket and people have seen his videos and they know what is his ball speed and with what speed it comes from the pitch,” Maninder opined.
A veteran of 35 Tests and 59 ODIs himself, Maninder knows all about fading out after a bright start in international cricket and he doesn’t want the same to happen to Kuldeep. He too pointed out at Kuldeep’s lack of confidence post IPL 2019.
“I am speaking out of personal experience. I too lost my way in the middle of a great career. I think his confidence has gone down after last year’s IPL. You need someone to speak to him and look into this technical problem which I am talking about. Once this is sorted he will get his confidence back. He is a real talent for Indian cricket and we need to preserve him so that he can get laurels for the team for many years,” Maninder opined.