Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav has resumed training in earnest, bowling four hours daily, and is striving hard to curb his natural instinct of applying saliva on the ball.
With lockdown restrictions being eased out, and the BCCI urging players to start their skill training at the local level, Yadav, under the tutelage of his childhood coach Kapil Pandey, is sweating it out at the Rovers ground in Kanour, where he learnt all his cricket.
“I have started training. In fact I am doing two sessions per day. In the morning from 7:30 am to 9 am I do my physical training, then I go back home and return in the evening. From 4 pm to 8 pm, I am regularly bowling in the nets,” said Yadav.
“It’s only been a week that I have started outdoor training. All this while, I was at home maintaining social distancing norms. Now I believe within the next few weeks, I would be ready for competitive cricket as and when it starts,” said Yadav, who has played six Tests, 60 ODIs and 21 T20 Internationals for the country.
For the 25-year-old, the biggest concern is controlling the habit of using saliva. ICC has banned the use of saliva but players can use sweat to shine the ball.
“Look, since childhood, we have this habit of applying saliva on the ball to keep the shine. With new ICC rules in place, I am trying to get rid of the habit. I believe it needs to be imbibed in training sessions first. Hopefully, we will have some alternative in place,” said Yadav, who has 167 international wickets to his name.
Asked what is the format he would like to play first once cricket resumes, Yadav said that T20 will be his choice. “Once competitive cricket resumes, I would prefer playing the IPL first. That is in case normalcy returns.”
While he has started training, he feels that cricket is not the priority right now when the country is struggling badly to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have seen the crisis of migrant labourers across India, especially in Delhi and Mumbai. People are jobless and you can’t just think about your sport,” said the spinner.
“I have always believed in this philosophy that charity should be done quietly. Yes, I am associated with a few NGOs plus I have tried to help people in my native Kanpur. But if you ask me to divulge details, I won’t because in my opinion, that’s not the right thing to do,” said Yadav.