Such has been Kuldeep Yadav’s impact for India that it seems hard to believe that he has been playing international cricket for less than two years. The left-arm wrist-spinner made his debut for India in June 2017 and he has already become the number one spinner for the country in limited overs cricket.
His numbers have been astounding. In 39 ODIs, he has taken 77 wickets at an average of 20.64 with a strike-rate of 25.9. His numbers are even better in T20Is: 18 matches, 35 wickets, average of 12.97 and a strike-rate of 11.5. And while he has played just six Test matches, India coach Ravi Shastri puts him down as India’s best overseas spinner.
Come the World Cup, he will be India’s X-factor, in all likelihood. Speaking about his mindset and approach to white-ball cricket, Kuleep Yadav said in an interview to ESPNCricinfo that it is all about execution on the day.
“Of course I watch some videos to understand a batsman’s strengths and weaknesses. But I don’t think, “If I bowl here, he will hit me there.” I don’t believe in too much video analysis because my skill sets are different,” Yadav told the cricket website.
“If I bowl, I see if I have executed well. I don’t think I should stress about it too much at this stage. I think about how I should get better, how to pick up wickets. Yes, I don’t watch videos, but it doesn’t mean I don’t think much about my bowling.”
The spectacular numbers are down to one thing: the opposition batsmen just haven’t been read him. It’s surprising when one considers that opposition teams would have access to video footage but in its own way it also shows that Yadav’s skill is real.
“If you’re playing with the white ball regularly, it becomes easy to adjust. I’m more settled in white-ball cricket, I never feel any pressure,” he said. “For any spinner, in ODIs, there’s a limited quota, so you need to attack in that way. You need to challenge yourself every time to perform for the team.”
Asked if he is happy with where his game is today, Yadav had an interesting answer.
“I’m the kind of person who underestimates himself. I feel I’m never ready. I never feel I’m 100%. The only thought process is: I should keep getting better. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn’t.