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'Didn't have much guidance during KKR days': Kuldeep Yadav

Updated on: 24 April,2024 08:29 AM IST  |  New Delhi
mid-day online correspondent |

He has taken 41 wickets in 33 matches since joining DC and he spoke how things transformed since he worked for months under coach Kapil Pandey to develop new skills post the surgery

'Didn't have much guidance during KKR days': Kuldeep Yadav

Kuldeep Yadav. Pic/AFP

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'Didn't have much guidance during KKR days': Kuldeep Yadav

A reinforced skillsets and the ability to perfectly read the ebbs and flows of a match have made Kuldeep Yadav a tough customer, but back in 2019 the left-arm wrist spinner felt the need of a guiding force around him as his form went south while playing for Kolkata Knight Riders. Kuldeep had an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) surgery in 2020 but once he joined Delhi Capitals, his performance both for the national team and in IPL improved significantly, making him the first-choice spinner across formats.

He has taken 41 wickets in 33 matches since joining DC and he spoke how things transformed since he worked for months under coach Kapil Pandey to develop new skills post the surgery. "In KKR, I needed guidance but now I don't need it, as now I dictate terms. In 2019, Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni, his national team mentor) had retired that year and I needed guidance. The idea that I have now, has come with experience," Kuldeep said about his success in the last one and half years. Kuldeep bowls the most challenging overs, including Powerplay, and when asked about his recipe of success, he attributed it to taking challenges head on.

"I still regret my time in KKR (from 2016-2020) and feel whatever I am doing now, wish I could have done it back then. "It still hurts me that had I worked on those skills back then, I could have dominated even more," Kuldeep said during a select media interaction. "But it didn't happen back then as experience is something that you get only when you play a lot. When you encounter failure in life, then only you learn and now I am more confident about my skills and at the same time respectful of the fact that opposition can be good too," the wily spinner said. Maturity is something that has had its positive effect over the years on him. "Back in the day, I didn't do (respect opposition) that. I believed in my skills but then at the same time you need to understand how the batter is playing and that maturity has come, knowing my strength and where to bowl so that it is difficult to hit, and I am working on that," said the Kanpur man.

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Post surgery, Kuldeep changed his run-up from diagonal to a much straighter one and also increased the pace on his delivery with more drift and prodigious turn in his break-backs. "The difficult part was before I got that knee injury (surgery for ACL), I wasn't bowling well. It is very important that there is someone in your life who supports you." It was at that time he went back to the drawing board and worked with his early coach Pandey. "It could be your coach or your parents, and my coach supported me and reminded me that you shouldn't back-track. "It is because you can be out of sight. During injury time, I was relaxed. I was thinking how can I get better? There were apprehensions about how things can go astray when one tries to add new things into his armoury. "If I introduce new things in my bowling, there is fear of it affecting the turn and drift.

Those aspects can get reduced while bringing a new facet. "I did try it earlier but perhaps didn't try in the correct manner. I tried increasing the pace in my deliveries but it didn't work. "Then my NCA physio gave me some tips and in a practice game, I tried to bowl with increased pace and did long sessions with Pandey sir," he said. Kuldeep also thanked head coach Ricky Ponting and former DC assistant coach Shane Watson for helping him when his rhythm was a bit off. Recently, Dinesh Karthik, Kuldeep's former KKR skipper in a podcast with Ravichandran Ashwin spoke about his "tough conversations with the bowler" which he felt that the chinaman bowler might not have appreciated. Kuldeep seemed non-fussed about it.

"Obviously, it's an old thing. If you have six quality spinners, you can be confused while choosing and Varun Chakravarthy was bowling well and I wasn't. The skipper (Karthik) had a difficult job and did as per what he felt," the 29-year-old said. But he gave an interesting theory as to why Karthik, perhaps, placed confidence in him. "I did well under DK bhai. In 2019, I didn't play a lot. I feel DK bhai plays spinners really well. I might be wrong but I feel he thinks some others also play spin as well as him," said a smiling Kuldeep. He also thanked Indian skipper Rohit Sharma, who didn't want Kuldeep to once again prove his mettle at domestic level before summoning him for national duty. "I am grateful that he got me in the team post injury and told me that I would only be played gradually since I was coming back from injury. "Now Rohit bhai doesn't talk about my bowling as I deliver what he wants. Now, he is after me to improve my batting," he laughs.

(With agency inputs)

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