NEW DELHI: Kuldeep Yadav seems a person much more in control of things. After having lost his place in the first-choice India team during the Covid-19 pandemic, the left-arm spinner seems to have found his core from this year’s IPL. Since the IPL, he has become consistent with his performance and that played a big part in this ‘second-string’ Indian team’s victory in the ODI series against South Africa.
“I have worked on my rhythm. Earlier, I used to impart pace on the ball from my shoulder. But now I got the rhythm to vary the pace. I got the confidence from the IPL. But my focus has always been on getting the ball to spin,” Kuldeep said after his spell of 4/18 on Tuesday.

A big part in Kuldeep’s rise as an international bowler has been the partnership with Yuzvendra Chahal. Ever since the team management did away with the combination Kuldeep faded away. Now that Chahal is in Australia to play the T20 World Cup, Kuldeep has shifted his focus on ODIs. The ODI World Cup in India is barely a year away. “I wish him (Chahal) all the best for the World Cup. But my focus is on the ODIs. I have become practical now. I have played enough cricket for India to have the experience to know how to bowl in the longer format. I now know the difference between bowling ODIs and T20s. In ODIs, you need to vary your pace and play with the batter. In T20s, you need to keep hitting the length which doesn’t work in ODIs,” Kuldeep remarked.

The pandemic and dip in his form coincided. He spent more time on the bench and doing rehab. He was yearning for game time. Of late, he has got time in the middle. He even played for India ‘A’ against New Zealand ‘A’ and picked up a hat-trick in a one-day game. “I am lucky to get matches. You may bowl a lot in the nets but you can get an idea of what’s working only when you are bowling in matches. You need game time. In the last two months, I know I am bowling well because I have played matches. I got a hat-trick against New Zealand ‘A’. That always gives you confidence. It’s not easy to take hat-tricks,” he claimed.

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By Dipak

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