Post the 2019 ODI World Cup, the sight of India fielding two of their top wristspinners in Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal together in a playing XI has become rare. The duo had formed a lethal partnership in India’s run-up to the ODI World Cup last year where they would tie down the opposition in the middle overs with some tight bowling and ability to take wickets.
However, the trend has since changed after some unfavourable results.
Explaining the change in strategy, Kuldeep says the decision depends on team combination.
“Wrist spin is not that easy. Chahal and I have bonded well for years. After the World Cup we haven’t played together because it depends on the selection and team combination. You’ve got to be flexible with the team’s requirements,” Kuldeep told The Times of India.
The chinaman has time and again talked about the influence of MS Dhoni on his bowling as the veteran constantly guides him and other bowlers from behind the stumps. Dhoni hasn’t played competitive cricket for almost a year now and has that reflected on Kuldeep’s bowling?
Of course. Mahi bhai has always guided me, because the wicketkeeper is always the best judge of the bowler. Someone like Mahi bhai is experienced and has an idea about how a batsman plays. All of this is teamwork. Just because Mahi bhai hasn’t played after the World Cup, I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. I don’t need to say if I was dependent on him. I can just work towards bettering my craft and as I said, it’s teamwork,” the 25-year-old said.
There has been a lot of debate around the saliva ban in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. And Kuldeep reckons that the ban will affect both the pacers and spinners and the habit will be hard to give up.
“It (saliva ban) will be difficult for every bowling unit. It will affect both fast bowlers and spinners because when you get a good shine on the ball, as a spinner it helps you get drift in the air. Not using saliva will be challenging because we have been using it since childhood. It is an instinctive reaction when you get the ball in your hand. Changing that habit will be a challenge,” Kuldeep, who has 167 wickets across formats, said.
During the lockdown period, the spinner has been observing videos of his bowling and has identified few things which he will work around.
“We needed a break, but this has been too long. Safety comes first. If you are not active in your profession, you tend to miss it. I have been watching a lot of videos of my bowling. There are a few fine things that I have noticed, and I will work around these small observations,” he revealed.