SL v IND 2021: ‘Never felt my white-ball career was over after one bad game against England’ – Kuldeep Yadav

Kuldeep played a key role in India's thumping victory over Sri Lanka in the first ODI.

Kuldeep Yadav | GettyBefore the first ODI against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Sunday (July 18), India wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav was having a tough time in international cricket. He was part of the Indian squads on the Australia tour and the home series against England but didn’t get many opportunities.

While the 26-year-old played only one ODI Down Under, he featured in one Test and two ODIs against England without any notable performance. In fact, his last ODI appearance saw him returning with the figures of 0 for 84 versus England in Pune.

Despite the abysmal outing, Kuldeep never thought his white-ball career was over. The chinaman bowler proved his critics wrong as he claimed 2 for 48 in 9 overs during India’s emphatic seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the ODI series opener.

See Also: “Prithvi and Ishan finished the game in first 15 overs”, Shikhar Dhawan after huge win in 1st ODI

Addressing the media after India's thumping win, Kuldeep said, "I never felt that my white-ball career was finished after that England game. There are times that you will go for runs. I have had four and five-wicket hauls and it would be better if people start talking about those achievements too."

"One or two bad games doesn't finish one's career. I believe all who have played the game and have knowledge of the game are aware about that fact. The track in Pune (during England series) was very good for batting and spinners didn't have much help. It can happen that wicket doesn't suit you," he added.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, cricketers are forced to stay in bio-bubble during a series and Kuldeep Yadav admitted that not getting much game time impacted his performance.

"It's a difficult life in [the] bubble and more so when you are not playing as self-doubts creep in. A lot of people want to help you, speak to you but when you speak to too many people, you create new types of doubts," he stated.

Kuldeep was under pressure before the opening ODI against Sri Lanka but coach Rahul Dravid's words of wisdom settled his nerves.

"Pressure and nervousness will always be there when you play after a long time and I was playing after a long time. It happens as you are keen to do well. Initially, Rahul sir backed me a lot, motivated me, he told me a lot of things but most importantly that I needed to enjoy my game...I am happy that it worked.."

He said one of the key changes he brought after a poor run of form for India and Kolkata Knight Riders was a variation in the pace of his deliveries.

"I have brought about some changes because, during the first innings, it was slow and dry, with turn on offer. I was varying the pace as per batsman I was bowling to," he said, referring to Sri Lanka's innings.

"There were times when I tried to flight the ball and there were times when I increased the pace of my deliveries. My idea was to ensure that batsmen don't settle down to one particular pace."

Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal haven't played together since the 2019 World Cup and the duo got to bowl in tandem in the first ODI against Sri Lanka.

"We share a good comfort level so I was happy that we played together after a long time. We back each other and whenever need be, we tell each other what needs to be done. There is a lot of bonding between us and that helps us in performing. The best part is that our performance helped in the team's victory," Kuldeep concluded.

(With PTI inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 19 Jul, 2021

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