India is set to play limited-overs series against South Africa from first February and Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav is already started working for it. He is playing the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy as a preparation for the upcoming overseas series.
He said playing domestic T20 league will hold him in good stead in the limited overs series in South Africa. "So far it has been good. I have played the full T20 season (Syed Mushtaq Ali). My rhythm is good so hopefully I will be able to continue bowling well there (in South Africa) as well," Kuldeep said.
Kuldeep will leave for South Africa on January 24 for the ODI series.
Asked how important is Mushtaq Ali Trophy for him, he said: "Every game here is important as an individual and as a team. The team needs you and it is a matter of pride to play for the state always. The state has given you everything so I came to play."
"It also gives you good match practice as you get to play against big players," he added.
We have seen Kuldeep going for wickets despite getting hit for few boundaries. He explained about it, "You will leak runs in T20 cricket. T20 is all about how many wickets you take. Wickets help the team in this format.
"When there is a score of 230 plus on the board, you know the opposition will go for runs. I always look to take wickets and not restrict runs. If I look to restrict runs, I can end up conceding more maybe," he said.
Just like the team management, players have also taken fitness very seriously. Kuldeep said it's important to stay fit. "When you are playing for India you have to be fit. Also if you want to survive for a long time, fitness is very important. I have been working a lot on my fitness for the last two years," he said.
IPL auction is on Saturday and Kuldeep has not been retained by his side Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). However, there are high chances Right-To-Match (RTM) card will be used on the spinner.
"It's been five years with KKR. It is like family and this is like a home ground for me. I know the angles from where to bowl and I am well-versed with the wicket as well," Kuldeep said.
"I don't feel pressure here as I have played here for five years. This has been a lucky ground for me."