Senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh believes Kuldeep Yadav’s sudden loss of form in the ongoing Indian Premier League will not in any way impact his performance in the ICC World Cup where he will have ample chance of a comeback.
Yadav, who is expected to be a vital cog in India’s World Cup campaign, has got only four wickets in nine games for Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2019 and was dropped in the last game against Sunrisers Hyderabad due to “poor form”.
“There is no doubt that Kuldeep is going through a rough patch in this IPL. T20 is a format which can destroy the confidence of any bowler but let’s not compare formats. One-Day Internationals are a different ball game and you will see a very different Kuldeep,” Singh told PTI during an interview on Wednesday.
The veteran off-spinner, who is currently representing defending champions Chennai Super Kings, said from what he has seen Yadav bowling in the IPL, the wrist spinner has no technical problems as such.
“I have watched a bit of his bowling and I don’t think there is any technical problem. And please check who all are hitting Kuldeep. It’s the Indian guys primarily who are hitting him. Virat (Kohli) in two games, Mayank (Agarwal), Mandy (Mandeep Singh), Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Shikhar Dhawan.
“Leave aside Virat, who is in a different league, all these guys are competent players of spin bowling. They read Kuldeep’s wrists much better than foreign batsmen. So in the World Cup, he will be bowling mostly to those who are still not reading him well. I think you will see a different Kuldeep,” said Singh, who has played two World Cup finals.
Captain must help
But he expects Yadav to show some situational awareness when he is getting hit. He said in that situation his franchise captain should also play a role.
“If he is getting hit by giving the deliveries more air, for a change, he can just push it a bit faster. If they are stepping out and hitting from length, he can just alter the length by half a yard. Now when you get hit, your mind does not work automatically.
“So there comes in the captain, who should tell him, ‘Okay, you have tried your thing, now try what I am telling you’. It helps a youngster,” said Singh, who has been a part of the two most successful franchises in CSK and Mumbai Indians.
Singh then explained that in the World Cup, no team will be consistently attacking Yadav.
“He may get hit but in the middle overs, the skipper will pack one side of the field, whether it’s inside 30-yard circle or outside. Even if he is hit for two fours, he can come back with figures of 3/50 or 2 for 45 on most days. And those are decent figures. In ODIs, you have to be a really bad bowler to go for 75-80 runs everyday,” said Singh, who has 269 wickets from 236 ODIs.
Another factor that will certainly work in Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal’s favour is the period of play when they are expected to operate.
“In the IPL, Kuldeep is bowling the 14th or even the 16th over when batsmen are throwing their bats around. In the World Cup, Virat will probably finish their quota latest by the 42nd or 43rd over. So the last seven overs, which will always be tricky, they are not expected to bowl,” said Singh.