India’s star wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav believes he would not have been successful at the world stage if captain Virat Kohli did not give him the freedom to attack.
Since the disappointment of Champions Trophy 2017 final, India have turned to wrist-spin for the One-Day International format and the rise of Kuldeep, along with Yuzvendra Chahal, has been key to the team’s successes home and away.
“You need a skipper who backs you and believes in your ability to shine on the big stage. You think we could have been so successful if Kohli bhai had not given us the freedom to attack? I don’t think so,” Kuldeep told PTI in an interview.
Kuldeep, who played for Kolkata Knight Riders, had an Indian Premier League campaign to forget (partly because of the conditions at Eden Gardens) as he returned with just four wickets from nine matches before being dropped by his franchise in the business end of the tournament.
The 24-year-old said he is looking forward to put the IPL disappointment behind with a spectacular performance in the upcoming World Cup beginning May 30.
“IPL is very different than World Cup. There are players who have done well in IPL but have struggled to make a mark for the country. I’ve matured as a bowler and by no means it will affect my performance in the World Cup,” Kuldeep said.
“It’s (T20) such a format, you may have a bad day where you’re hit for runs. I’m not a magician who will do well in every match. You cannot say I will take so many wickets.”
By his own standard, an average of 71.50 in IPL is something he would look to forget.
“If I’m not getting wickets it does not mean I’m not bowling well. Now I play as a mature cricketer and think more about the team,” Kuldeep said.
Kuldeep also spoke about his comments, made in jest, regarding MS Dhoni that sometimes the former skipper “goes wrong” with his tips.
“How can a youngster like me make such comments on a senior member of the side? My comments had been misinterpreted by media to create a controversy,” he said.
“There is no doubt that his tips have been invaluable not only for me but for the entire team. His presence behind the stumps makes our job easy and nobody can change that fact. We wouldn’t have been half as effective without his inputs.”
Andre Russell was a revelation in this year’s IPL with his batting exploits and single-handedly drove KKR ahead before they failed to make the playoffs. Kuldeep said he has learnt a few tricks which he would employ against the West Indies all-rounder in the World Cup.
“He has some problems facing a turning ball. If the ball is turning, then he has a weakness. It’s not just this, I’ve different plans to unleash against him in the World Cup. I know how to stop him and I’m very clear in my mind,” he said.
(Quotes courtesy: Press Trust of India)