Why it’s difficult to play Kuldeep Yadav’s bowling? Indian spinner explains

Kuldeep Yadav says modern technology or video analysis may not help teams dissect his bowling. Kuldeep’s claims are backed by great numbers so far.

cricket Updated: Mar 22, 2018 08:54 IST
Abhishek Paul
Abhishek Paul
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Kuldeep Yadav,Indian cricket team,Yuzvendra Chahal
Kuldeep Yadav will complete one year with the Indian cricket team on Sunday.(AP)

The coming weekend is special for Kuldeep Yadav. It marks a year for the Chinaman bowler in international cricket, and he has come a long way since his Test debut against Australia in Dharamsala.

The rarity of a Chinaman or left-arm wrist-spinner has ensured the moniker ‘mystery bowler’ has got attached to his name, though the 23-year-old Kanpur player doesn’t make much of that tag.

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However, in this interview, Kuldeep says modern technology or video analysis may not help teams dissect his bowling.

“Technology has been there for a long time. If you are turning the ball, drifting it and deceiving opposition batsman, nobody can stop you from being a successful spinner. I don’t believe video analysis can make a big difference in understanding my bowling,” Kuldeep said.

“There are small aspects you work on, which no analyst can catch. It’s about understanding the batsman’s thinking and attacking him that way. How well you deceive him in match situation is important. Those are the small things that you hone with regular practice, which becomes the differentiating factor.”

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South Africa tour

Kuldeep’s claims are backed by great numbers so far. Since making his India debut on March 25, 2017, he has scalped 60 wickets across formats – nine in two Tests, 39 in 20 ODIs and 12 in eight T20Is.

But if there has been one highlight for Kuldeep, it is the 17 wickets he took in six ODIs in the recent South Africa away ODI series. His tally is the most by a spinner in South Africa, surpassing Muttiah Muralitharan’s achievement (14 wickets) in 1998.

“My aim was to take 15 wickets in six matches. I got two extra and I was very happy, especially because my role was important in the team’s series win.

“It was my first tour and there was not much pressure. My preparation was good. I worked with my coach in Kanpur and also in NCA. I had confidence and belief in my skills.”

READ | Kuldeep Yadav believes in taking wickets in T20s, not restricting batsmen

Hunting in pairs

Kuldeep’s attitude of not taking pressure ahead of a big occasion has reflected in his bowling. His partnership with fellow wrist-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has also stood out in the last one year.

“Sometimes, according to situation you have to contain the batsmen. But our (Kuldeep and Chahal) main aim is to take wickets. We often get hit for fours or sixes but it has never deterred us. Our bowling style is not such that we will restrict the batsman too much, there will be runs but there will be wickets too,” he said.

“We are together for five years. We back each other. In limited overs cricket, the middle overs are very important. We try to give the team wickets during that time.”

Wrist-spinners vs finger-spinners

Kuldeep and Chahal’s rise in Indian cricket has seen senior finger-spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja sitting out of the limited overs teams since August.Kuldeep steers clear of any wrist-spinner versus finger-spinner debate.

“For me, genuine wrist-spinners are those who can turn the ball both ways, give good flight and trouble the batsman. No matter the format, if he can turn the ball, the batsman will face problems,” he said.

“If any right arm off-spinner or left-arm (orthodox) spinner can turn the ball and create problem for the batsman, then he will have the advantage. I don’t think it’s a case of whether wrist-spinners are better than off-spinners.”

IPL calling

While Kuldeep rise in international cricket is just a year old, he has been a trusted Indian Premier League (IPL) player for a long time. In the 2018 edition, he will again play for Kolkata Knight Riders, who bought him for Rs 5.80 crore.

“Definitely, responsibility will be more this time. It’s my fourth year with KKR and I am looking forward to it.”

First Published: Mar 22, 2018 08:36 IST