Kuldeep Yadav on Tuesday said that he doesn’t need to prove to anyone that he can perform even in Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s absence.

Kuldeep’s form has been in a slump since the 2019 World Cup, which has coincided with the absence of Dhoni from international cricket. Ravindra Jadeja’s comeback to India’s limited-overs side alongside youngster Washington Sundar’s emergence has seen the wrist spinner fall out of favour with the Indian team management over the past few months.

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Kuldeep, on many occasions, has credited his success to Dhoni’s valuable inputs behind the stumps. However, while acknowledging the former India captain’s guidance, the spinner said he wants to work on his skills rather than show he was dependent on Dhoni.

“Of course [it has been different playing without Dhoni],” Kuldeep said in an interview with The Times of India. “Mahi bhai has always guided me, because the wicketkeeper is always the best judge of the bowler. Someone like Mahi bhai is experienced and has an idea about how a batsman plays. All of this is teamwork. Just because Mahi bhai hasn’t played after the World Cup, I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. I don’t need to say if I was dependent on him. I can just work towards bettering my craft and as I said, it’s teamwork.”

With the International Cricket Council banning the use of saliva on ball as an interim health safety measure due to the coronavirus pandemic, Kuldeep said the decision be challenging for both pacers and spinners.

“It will be difficult for every bowling unit,” he said. “It will affect both fast bowlers and spinners because when you get a good shine on the ball, as a spinner it helps you get drift in the air. Not using saliva will be challenging because we have been using it since childhood. It is an instinctive reaction when you get the ball in your hand. Changing that habit will be a challenge.”