In the recently concluded India’s ODI bilateral series on the South Africa tour, two Indian spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal bowled fabulously and became the most important contributors to India’s success. However, Indian left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav is giving full credit to the Indian skipper Virat Kohli and the former skipper MS Dhoni for the perfect guiding.
Talking about their achievement, Kuldeep told CricketNext, “What we have achieved in South Africa has a lot to do with the way Kohli bhai and Dhoni bhai guide us in the middle. While you can all hear Dhoni bhai constantly guiding us on the stump microphone, it is Kohli bhai who actually plans it all. It is a complete work of two individuals who are brilliant when it comes to first planning and then implementing the plans.”
The 23-years old left-arm Chinaman added, “Credit has been given to us (Kuldeep and Chahal) for taking India home in the limited-overs series, but we couldn’t have been half as effective had it not been for the two senior pros guiding us. You need a skipper who backs you and believes in your ability to shine on the big stage. You think we could have been so successful if Kohli bhai had not given us the freedom to attack? I don’t think so.”
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In that ODI series, Kuldeep Yadav was the most wicket-taker with 17 wickets while the 27-years old leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal took 16 wickets. The hosts’ batting line-up continuously struggled against them.
Speaking about his role, Kuldeep said, “My role is to attack and also abide by the directions given by the skipper. I don’t really give the wicket much importance. I am an attacking bowler and I believe that if I can do my job, the wickets will come. Chahal telling me in Durban that the wicket had sharp turn gave me further confidence.”
Kuldeep reached South Africa during the third Test when India already lost the Test series but they were still upbeat for their upcoming encounters. Talking about the team’s condition at that moment, Kuldeep revealed, “In fact, I must admit that when I reached South Africa — during the third Test at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg — the mood in the camp was already upbeat. We had the upper-hand in the game and after coming so close in the first two games, it was for the first time that the result was also turning in our favour and that win set things up for the rest of the series.
“But yes, we did need to focus all over again and try and make inroads at the start of the ODIs. Keeping the winning momentum was very important for us as a team and that is what helped us because had we not won the first two ODIs, the Proteas would have come back strongly and the series could have ended in a much different manner.”
Despite consistently performing well in the recent limited-overs cricket, Kuldeep Yadav, who also claimed an ODI hat-trick and that was against Australia in last September, is not getting the regular chance in the Test match.
Speaking about that, Kuldeep mentioned the two Indian experienced spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja as masterclass spinners. Kuldeep added that they can’t be beneficial when Ashwin and Jadeja available in the squad. The left-arm chinaman said about not getting the chances in the Test matches, “Yes, I would be lying if I say that I didn’t feel disappointed to miss the bus, but then, that is a part of every sportsperson’s journey. You also need to realise that the team already had two master-class spinners in Ashwin bhai and Jaddu (Jadeja) bhai. So, I went to South Africa with a clear mind and looking to make the most of the opportunities that I would get. To be fair, I didn’t think that we (Chahal and him) would get the kind of purchase that we did. I enjoyed bowling on those wickets and I think the numbers speak for themselves. I only looked at expressing myself in the middle.”
Kuldeep is confident about India’s next big challenge on the England soil as he said, “Kohli bhai leads by example. His aggression rubs off on all of us and that is why this team has the ‘never-say-die’ attitude. I am confident that we as a team will produce another good performance there. But before that, I am looking forward to bowling against Kohli bhai and Mahi bhai in the IPL.”