Mohammad Kaif may not be associated with any of the 10 cricket franchises in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season, but that did not stop him from supporting Kuldeep Yadav and expressing his displeasure with the mismanagement he experienced while playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders until the 2021 season.
Kuldeep's success in the first game is a huge boost for DC, who are looking for their first IPL title. Kaif, the team's former assistant coach, has observed numerous new talents up close, and when it comes to the Chinaman bowler, he believes the Knight Riders have underutilized him in previous seasons.
The 41-year-old spent his three-year spell working closely with some of the franchise's rising players. In four overs, the left-arm wrist-spinner dismissed Rohit Sharma, Anmolpreet Singh, and Kieran Pollard. This is in complete contradiction to last season when Kuldeep was demoted to the KKR bench and didn't even play a single match.
In a conversation with SportsKeeda, Kaif said the way KKR handled Kuldeep, the latter’s bowling and form was bound to go south.
“Kuldeep Yadav is a proven match-winner. But he is someone who also needs to be managed well. He is a bit emotional and feels low if he isn’t given the bowling or is dropped from the team. The way he was treated at KKR when Dinesh Karthik and Eoin Morgan were the captains, he used to be made to sit at home and not even in the squad. When you behave like this, any match-winner feels the pressure,” Kaif said.
Despite having two ODI hat-tricks to his name, Kuldeep was dropped from the Indian team for a long time. In July 2021, he rejoined a second-string squad that had traveled to Sri Lanka. He was selected for the home T20Is against the West Indies in 2022.
Kuldeep Yadav has taken 43 wickets at an average of 29.16 in 46 IPL games.