After impressing one and all during the recently concluded six-match ODI series against South Africa, left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav has said that he is confident of a strong performance in India’s forthcoming overseas assignments in England and Australia.
In an exclusive interview with Indian Express, the 23-year-old chinaman bowler also expressed his desire of becoming a regular member in India’s Test playing XI.
“Obviously, I am ready for the foreign tours. I love pitches outside India more as they offer true bounce, wickets here are slow. I am ready to play all the three formats, that is the ultimate goal,” Kuldeep Yadav told Indian Express.
“I think even four years ago I was ready. I am playing for my country right now, I am confident and so I think I can deliver,” he added when asked whether he can lead the spin attack in Tests.
Kuldeep had a memorable tour of South Africa, taking 17 wickets in 6 ODIs as the Men in Blue clinched the one-day international series with a stunning margin of 5-1.
On being asked to assess his performance against the Proteas, Yadav said: “I am very happy how it panned out. First away tour was really nice for me. I was nervous before going there but was equally excited. I always thought to myself that this was an opportunity to learn something new. My plan was to get acclimatised to conditions as soon as possible. Knowing that turn will be less but bounce will be more, I prepared myself accordingly.”
“I was mentally well-prepared and composed myself by believing in my strengths. My strength is not bowling quick- something that Imran Tahir does. But my focus was giving the ball more flight, bowl slower through the air, and at the same time focus on the amount of drift. I wanted to deceive the batsmen by holding it in the air,” he explained.
During the IPL auction in January, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) brought the Right to Match (RTM) card to secure the services of Kuldeep after Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) bid for him at INR 5.80 crores. Speaking about his journey with KKR, the left-arm chinaman said: “It has been a wonderful journey where my focus has been to keep bowling as much as I can. The biggest plus point was that the more I bowled the more mature I became.”
In particular, Kuldeep credited former Australia spinner Brad Hogg and ex-KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir for his growth.
“When I played IPL, I learnt a lot from the likes of Brad Hogg. Gautam Gambhir also backed me to the hilt and that really helped me grow. Now in the international circuit- nothing much has changed except my pace, which has increased. I hope to keep playing for my country and perform in whichever format I get a chance in,” he elaborated.
Kuldeep also hailed the former and current skippers – MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli for instilling confidence in the entire team on a triumphant tour of South Africa. Dhoni, the glovesman, was at his verbal best. There was no shortage of street smartness, shrewd advice, and witticism standing behind the stumps. On the other hand, captain Kohli was very precise with his plans and attacking captaincy.
“When legends like MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli are in your team then the job becomes, even more, easier. Mahi Bhai keeps sharing his wealth of experience with me, so it really feels good to be around him. It helps us to have a strong mindset. At the same time, Virat bhai also encourages to keep attacking the batsmen. He believes in us, always motivates us and there can be nothing bigger for a youngster than this,” Kuldeep Yadav concluded.