India leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav has been captain Virat Kohli’s go-to man in the limited-overs format whenever the team needs a breakthrough or looking to break an important partnership. Kuldeep believes he wouldn’t have been successful at the world stage had it not been for skipper Kohli, who gave him the freedom to attack. The left-arm bowler has an ability to take wickets in the middle overs, and in an age where spinners are hit for plenty, Kuldeep somehow manages to keep a lid on the batsmen.
In a freewheeling chat, the 25-year-old spoke about the things he learnt from Kohli and how the Indian captain handle pressure situations with supreme ease. He also spoke about the importance of staying indoors in the battle against coronavirus, silencing the foodie in him and most importantly keeping fingers crossed that the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) takes place.
“If your captain believes in you, giving your best on the field becomes easy. From Virat, we learn a lot of things like how to manage difficult situations. He never fails to motivate young players. I remember when I was new in the team he backed me a lot. In fact, now also, he is always there for me. He always appreciates your skills and we have a great tuning together. The best quality of Virat is that he also understands the team and its player’s well which makes our job easy on field,” Kuldeep was quoted by IANS.
While a cricketer’s place is on the field, the pandemic has ensured that he has spent most of the last few months indoors. Has that been difficult as an athlete? The spinner says he has looked to spend quality time with his family apart from working on his fitness and controlling his love for food.
“Lockdown must be difficult for a lot of people, but I got a lot of time to rest, and my body recovered from the injuries. I spent a good amount of time with my family but at the same time it’s been a challenge maintaining peak fitness. It was difficult in the start, but slowly things fell in place.
“I made a proper schedule for myself and I am sticking to it. I was continuously in touch with the BCCI trainers, which made the whole process easier. I wasn’t depressed nor was the lockdown difficult for me. I am a foodie and the only issue I had was to follow a strict diet as the workout was not as intense as it used to be. Hence following a diet was of utmost importance…Sometimes I did rest, and cheat on my diet but I tried my best to stick to the routine,” he smiled.
Asked about his take on the whole saliva debate, Kuldeep said that while it is a habit, the experts should be allowed to take the final call. And as for him, he cannot wait to get back on the field.
“Definitely, after the pandemic is over and you step on the field, there will be a little scare. There is a lot of debate going on right now in terms of using saliva on the ball or not to use it. Yes it’s going to be very difficult as since kids we are used to applying saliva on the ball to make it shine. Now playing with the new rules will be tricky for sure. As it’s a habit for us, it will require a lot of control and a lot of practice. Let us just leave it to the experts. As a cricketer I am less scared and more excited about going on the field and playing,” he said.
Finally, is he looking forward to the Indian Premier League? Considering that it could very well be the first live sporting action for Indian cricketers once normalcy returns.
“Of course I am very excited. I have heard that the IPL may happen this year as the T20 World Cup may get pushed. I am all set and very excited for IPL because I will get to play after a long break. IPL is a tough tournament and if it happens this year I will give my best. IPL will also give us confidence for the forthcoming Australia series. So yes, I am all excited and I am looking forward to it,” he signed off.