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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

When a young Kuldeep Yadav thought of suicide after cricket selection snub

Kuldeep Yadav, India’s rising Chinaman bowler, switched from pace to spin and then overcame early dejection before realizing his dream of playing for the India cricket team

cricket Updated: Nov 12, 2017 09:38 IST
Sharad Deep
Sharad Deep
Kuldeep Yadav has been a revelation for Indian cricket team in recent past.
Kuldeep Yadav has been a revelation for Indian cricket team in recent past.(AFP)

Despite the massive fan following cricketers in India enjoy, young Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav swears by simplicity and loves being called ‘Kanpuria launda’ (Kanpur lad).

True to his image, Kuldeep was happy to reach out when he found himself amid his fans, including young girls, posing for selfies with him and signing autographs at the Hindustan Shikhar Samagam here on Saturday.

READ | How MS Dhoni helped Kuldeep Yadav bag maiden ODI cricket hat-trick

The adulation was a remarkable change from the days when a 13-year-old Kuldeep wanted to commit suicide when he was not selected in the Uttar Pradesh’s under-15 team. He had also decided to quit the game. But the wheel of fortune turned in a few years, bestowing success on him.


Making this confession, Kuldeep, 22, said he had made up his mind not to pursue the game again, ever. “I had worked hard for my selection, but when I was not picked, I mentioned suicide in frustration. It happens to everyone in the heat of the moment,” he said on Saturday.

READ | Kuldeep Yadav has built a great foundation in international cricket: Brad Hogg

“I was a meritorious student in school and wanted to play cricket just for fun. I never thought of making it my vocation. In fact, my father wanted me to play cricket and took me to the coach,” recalled Kuldeep, who has enjoyed an impressed first year as an India player.

“I always wanted to become a seam bowler, but my coach forced me to become a spinner. When I bowled a few balls (Chinaman), I was asked to make it a habit. Otherwise, I didn’t know I was bowling something different,” he said.


After idolising Pakistan pace great Wasim Akram initially, he made Australian spin legend Shane Warne his role model. “I keep watching videos of Warne. His grip of the ball, length of deliveries and use of the crease are unbeatable. I try to learn from the footage,” said Kuldeep, who has taken nine wickets in two Tests after making a winning debut against Australia at Dharamsala in March.

READ | How mysterious is Kuldeep Yadav? India’s hat-trick man has an answer

“It was a pressure game. It was the series decider. I was bowling alongside Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. I felt at ease only after bagging four crucial wickets,” said the Kanpur player.

Kuldeep, the third Indian bowler to take a hattrick in ODIs, termed his Test debut as the biggest achievement. He said the final rain-hit T20 (8-overs-a-side) last week against New Zealand was yet another intense game. “I felt the pressure as bowling in such conditions was quite difficult. But I focused on the length of my deliveries.”

Expressing gratitude for the support he has received from skipper Virat Kohli and stumper MS Dhoni, Kuldeep said he never bothered about the opposition’s strengths or weakness but kept focus on his abilities.

READ | India vs Australia: ‘Hard to read’ Kuldeep Yadav wins praise from Michael Clarke

“If I am sure about my skills, I will be successful. So, I keep concentrating and working hard on my abilities,” he said.

Kuldeep, who is hooked to PlayStation 4, has been training hard at his favourite Nagar Palika ground in Kanpur. He will join the India team at least for the first two Tests against Sri Lanka. The series starts on November 16 with the first game in Kolkata.

“PS4 is my favourite (video) game and it helps me understand and solve the problems of life. I don’t stop thinking about the game even when I am home and enjoying my mother’s home-cooked food.”

First Published: Nov 12, 2017 09:36 IST

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