India spinner Kuldeep Yadav begs to differ from sceptics who were ready to write his cricketing epitaph after a few bad performances but feels self-doubt does creep in when a player is being overlooked for long periods.

The spinner took an impressive 2/48 against Sri Lanka in the first ODI on Sunday.

Kuldeep, who was an automatic choice till the 2019 World Cup, is not in the main team’s scheme of things at the moment.

“I never felt that my white ball career was finished after that England game. There are times that you will go for runs. I have had four and five wicket hauls and it would be better if people start talking about those achievements too,” Kuldeep told media after the first match.

“One or two bad games doesn’t finish one’s career. I believe all who have played the game and have knowledge of the game are aware about that fact.”

Many felt that his 0/84 against England in Pune earlier this year, had spelt doom for the 26-year-old from Kanpur.

“The track in Pune (during England series) was very good for batting and spinners didn’t have much help. It can happen that wicket doesn’t suit you,” added Kuldeep, who has 107 wickets from 64 ODIs.

But sport can be lonely especially in Covid-19 times and in bubble life, when one is spending long time in a closed environment and not getting chances.

Kuldeep has been in and around the squad without much game time and that does have its ill-effects.

“It’s a difficult life in bubble and more so when you are not playing as self-doubts creep in. A lot of people want to help you, speak to you but when you speak to too many people, you create new type of doubts,” he said.

He was under pressure before the first ODI but coach Rahul Dravid’s words of wisdom helped him soothe his nerves.

“Pressure and nervousness will always be there when you play after a long time and I was playing after long time. It happens as you are keen to do well.

“Initially, Rahul sir backed me a lot, motivated me, he told me a lot of things but most importantly that I needed to enjoy my game...I am happy that it worked..”

One of the key changes that he has brought after a poor run of form for India and KKR is varying the pace of his deliveries which was evident against the Lankan batsmen.

“I have brought about some changes because during the first innings, it was slow and dry with turn on offer. I was varying the pace as per batsman I was bowling to.

“There were times when I tried to flight the ball and there were times when I increased the pace of my deliveries. My idea was to ensure that batsmen don’t settle down to one particular pace”

It was also a long time since Kuldeep and Yuzvendra Chahal got to play together in an international game.

“We share a good comfort level so I was happy that we played together after a long time. We back each other and whenever need be, we tell each other what needs to be done.

“There is a lot of bonding between us and that helps us in performing. Best part is that our performance helped in team’s victory,” he said.

With PTI Inputs