“Kuldeep’s career is protected because of Rohit Sharma” – Kapil Dev Pandey
By SMCS - May 2, 2022 3:59 pm
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Kuldeep Yadav has been in a sublime form in the ongoing IPL 2022. However, he has been playing for Delhi Capitals now and his childhood coach Kapil Dev Pandey feels that the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) did not show enough trust in him. He was part of the KKR from 2014 to 2021. He along with Sunil Narine made a formidable pair but they didn’t retain him as Kuldeep Yadav later lost his form and confidence in the 2019 season, which led KKR to promote Varun Chakravarthy as the second-choice spinner as well.

Nathan Ellis
Kuldeep Yadav took a brilliant wicket of Nathan Ellis

However, Kuldeep’s coach Pandey believed his career would have been ended if he had been with KKR for one more season. He said in an interview with the Times Of India, “KKR did a very good thing by releasing Kuldeep. It worked really well in Kuldeep’s favor. If Kuldeep was there for one more season, he would have been severely diminished as a cricketer. They (KKR) retained him for one year and then didn’t give him chances, that was quite shocking.”

The two-time IPL title winners retained Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy and Venkatesh Iyer. And, Delhi Capitals (DC) bought him for a sum of ₹2 crore. And, he has been in a prolific form with the ball where he has claimed 17 wickets in nine matches so far as well.

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His coach again said: “When he was picked by DC in the last player auction (for his base price of Rs 2 Cr), I told him not to see the price he was bought for. I just said – ‘you have got a wonderful team and set up and will get enough chances to showcase your talent’. He said – ‘I just want to perform in the IPL and want to make a comeback to the Indian team in all formats’. He was hungry for chances,” his coach stated.

However, he got good support in the DC camp, from both the captain Rishabh Pant and Head coach Ricky Ponting. Pant speaks to Kuldeep and plans strategies with him on the field too as well. In Ponting, Kuldeep found a great mentor who has backed his abilities and guided him as well.

“Kuldeep is so thankful to Delhi Capitals for giving him this opportunity. Delhi showed faith in him and Kuldeep is repaying that faith. Kuldeep needs mental support and he got that from (Rishabh) Pant and (Ricky) Ponting. Ponting and Pant have asked Kuldeep to go and express himself in the middle and Kuldeep is doing just that. Kuldeep has the full support of Ponting and Pant. When the captain and coach back you, what else do you need?” Pandey further said.

kuldeep yadav
Delhi Capitals

“Pant is doing what Dhoni used to do with Kuldeep. Pant is guiding Kuldeep the way Dhoni did. Pant has shown a lot of trust in Kuldeep. He is guiding him from behind the stumps, instructing him. Kuldeep and Pant have great coordination on the field. They are on the same page about most things. Kuldeep worked a lot on his lines and lengths. He is not giving room to batsmen now. He is bowling with full confidence. He just does not allow batsmen to score runs and creates more and more pressure. He tried to bowl some flighted deliveries in the tournament and those were played brilliantly by Glenn Maxwell and Jos Buttler. We discussed that plan too. Now he is turning the ball towards the wide line. He got Shreyas Iyer with that trick,” Kuldeep’s childhood coach further said.

Meanwhile, his coach thanked Rohit Sharma as he kept an eye on him. And, the coach believes the change in Team India captaincy has helped Kuldeep Yadav too. Kuldeep returned to the Indian team after a gap of seven months against the West Indies (ODI series) in February this year. Kuldeep has two hat-tricks in international cricket. He achieved the feat against Australia (in 2017) and West Indies (in 2019) as well.

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“Whenever captains trusted him, Kuldeep delivered. He has a good record in Tests. He has two hat-tricks in ODIs. He has a good T20I record. But still, he didn’t get enough opportunities. This is really shocking. Kuldeep’s career is protected because of Rohit Sharma. Rohit is the man behind Kuldeep’s resurgence. He is a fantastic captain and he knows how to find talent in a big group of players. Ahead of the IPL, Rohit called Kuldeep and gave him the chance (against the West Indies). Kuldeep delivered too by taking two wickets,” Pandey said.

“Rohit kept a close eye on Kuldeep, his Yo-Yo Test and rehab reports. Rohit was impressed with Kuldeep’s rehab programme. Rohit should be credited for Kuldeep’s comeback. He wouldn’t have been here today without the support of Rohit, Pant and Ponting. Every captain has their own style of captaining and picking players. Kuldeep played a lot of cricket under Virat. Virat wants experience in the side. He went with Ashwin and Jadeja. He preferred Axar ahead of Kuldeep because of Axar’s batting capabilities. A captain has to trust his players,” the coach concluded.