Kuldeep Yadav motivated to learn from seniors R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja
Kuldeep Yadav motivated to learn more from spinners Ashwin, Jadeja as chinaman bowler claims 3-71 to reduce Oz to 236-6 on Day Three
Kuldeep Yadav's last overseas Test was in August last year, when he was surprisingly picked as a second spin option in the second encounter of the five-match series at Lord's. The first day had been totally washed out, and Day Two dawned damp and bleak and overcast, yet India chose to go in with two spinners in R Ashwin and Kuldeep, with predictably disastrous results.
Ashwin went wicketless in 17 overs while conceding 68, Kuldeep's nine overs yielded 44 in India's only bowl of the match. James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran picked all 19 wickets to fall to the bowlers as England completed a commanding innings win, showing up the Indian think-tank's wisdom.
After missing six away Tests on the trot, Kuldeep finally broke back into the XI, and that largely because of the abdominal strain to Ashwin. Making the most of his opportunity, the left-arm wrist spinner ended Day Three of the final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground with figures of 3-71 from 24 excellent overs. Australia were reduced to 236-6 before bad light and rain stopped play.
Between the Lord's and SCG outings, Kuldeep did play two home Tests against West Indies in October, but he admitted on Saturday that it wasn't easy to slip back into red-ball mode after prolonged gaps. "There is more pressure," he said. "You keep playing regular white-ball cricket, then red-ball Test cricket comes and the mindset changes. You need at least 10 days as a leg-spinner to change your mindset from white to red ball and control things. If you are bowling in the nets, you can improve a bit but it's only when you play matches that you improve more.
"You need match practice; four-day and Test cricket is very different from one-dayers. When I came back from the Lord's Test, I bowled for a week with my coach and played for India A in the 'Test' series against Australia 'A'. I performed well there; when you get into rhythm, the ball comes out well. It is very important for any spinner - the more you bowl, the better you will get. Match experience is very important."
To keep himself fresh and motivated while biding his time, Kuldeep added, was hardly a challenge. "When you know you have Ashwin and [Ravindra] Jadeja, the best spinners, and you are the third one, there is a lot to motivate yourself and learn from them. They keep pushing me in the nets, urging me to bowl in a particular way in good areas. It is important to learn from them because they have played enough cricket and I am still in the learning phase."
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