Spinner Kuldeep Yadav is seeking to cement his place in India’s T20 World Cup team with a good
Indian Premier League. The 25-year-old is not a sure-shot starter anymore.

Only a year ago, he was looked upon as India’s best spin bowling option in overseas conditions, but a slump in form led to him losing that status.

“I don’t feel anything went wrong. It depends on [the] combination [the team management wants],” Kuldeep told PTI. “In New Zealand the wickets were quite different, you might have seen that there were no spin tracks in Tests. Moreover, it was not a long Test series as well.”

He added: “[Coach] Ravi bhai [Shastri] backs me a lot. He is open to everything. Whatever cricket I played till date, he has backed me a lot. It was a team decision keeping in mind the conditions.”

Kuldeep last played a Test in January 2018 – against Australia in Sydney – while his last T20 match was against Sri Lanka in January this year. He featured in only one of the three ODIs in the New Zealand series where India lost 0-3.

He is now eyeing the IPL, starting on March 29, to make a strong statement and return to the India fold. “IPL is such a platform which changes every year. You need to be active every time and adapt to the changes. I am, right now, fully prepared for IPL.

“I got plenty of time to plan as well. IPL is very important [for making a comeback in Indian team].”

The T20 World Cup will be held in Australia from October 18 to November 15.

Kuldeep said: “Every player wants to play more because the more you play, the more you improve. IPL is such a platform where you get to play regularly over the course of one-and-a-half months and it will in turn result in performance.”

‘Chahal and I love bowling in tandem’

Kuldeep said tough times are a part and parcel of every sportsperson’s life, but insisted that a player needs backing in such situations. “Cricket is not about one day. Every player goes through rough patch. Good and bad times come in everyone’s life, but a player needs backing in the bad days,” he said.

The Kanpur-born said hoped he will make the Australia-bound team alongside spin colleague Yuzvendra Chahal.

“[Ravindra] Jadeja is putting in very good performancess in batting, fielding and bowling. So, the combination has become more strong with his arrival,” he said.

“We have a very strong team and we will definitely give our best effort. It depends on the management whether we play together or not. Combination matters a lot.

“We love bowling in tandem and there is no doubt about it. It will definitely be great for us if we get to play together in T20 World Cup.”

Dhoni’s presence missed

Kuldeep said he definitely misses Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps even though Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul are doing a good job.

“Mahi bhai [Dhoni] is such an experienced player. He has given the Indian team a lot. Whenever an experienced player is not playing then you tend to lack somewhere and miss him,” the 25-year-old said.

“Having said that, they [Pant and Rahul] are still youngsters now but have been doing very well. Both are keeping well, so it is not making such difference, but you miss Mahi bhai’s presence.”