Indian leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav has admitted that the lack of consistent game time in the past six months made it difficult for him to settle into his rhythm and find the ideal length during the recently-concluded ODI series against England.
Kuldeep Yadav has spent more warming the bench than on the field ever since cricket made a return after the Covid-enforced break. After a forgettable IPL 2020 campaign, Kuldeep Yadav was more or less relegated to the bench for almost the entirety of India’s international season this winter.
Yadav featured in just one of the six white-ball internationals in Australia and then saw the likes of Washington Sundar play ahead of him in the succeeding Test series despite the absence of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
He was once again consigned to the bench for the Test series opener against England on home soil before finally getting a chance in the second Test. The chinaman warmed the bench during the last two Tests and was overlooked for the T20I series, which India won 3-2.
He eventually got a chance in the ODI series but the leg-spinner endured a torrid time as he smashed to all corners of the ground during the opening two games. Kuldeep Yadav leaked as many as 152 runs across the two ODIs without taking a single wicket and was dropped from the playing 11 for the series-decider as India went in with extra pace-option in T Natarajan.
”If you’re playing regularly, you get an idea about the length and can quickly identify what length to bowl. But when you’re playing with breaks, the length may sometimes be a little up or short. If I work hard on my lengths, it will help me bowl better,” Kuldeep Yadav told Mid-Day.
“The first game was very important as I was playing after a long time. I didn’t get into a good rhythm in that match. Had I been playing regularly, rhythm would not have been an issue. I made a good comeback after the first over [conceding 13 runs]. In the second game, I bowled better. It’s just that there was no assistance for spin on the pitch, so I didn’t get the desired results. On flat pitches, length is crucial. It was difficult for spinners in the ODIs, all went for runs.” he added.
Kuldeep Yadav has struggled to make an impact in international cricket in the past 1.5 years and there have been talks that batsmen around the world seemed to have figured out the chinaman.
Yadav, however, dismissed the theory, insisting that his main job is to keep improving and not focus on anything else.
”I don’t pay attention to all this talk. It’s important that I keep improving my skills and be as accurate as possible. If you’re playing regularly, batsmen tend to read you. If they are getting comfortable playing me, then my job as a bowler is to keep improving. And that’s why I look to add or change a few things every time,” said Kuldeep Yadav.
“Despite all the analysis, batsmen still find ways to score runs and bowlers still find different methods to take wickets. There are other factors, too, like form, rhythm and confidence. If [your] confidence is high, you’ll start taking wickets and people will again start talking good things about you,” he added.
“My job is to be ready whenever the opportunity arises. The team management has always communicated to me the reason why I wasn’t getting a place in the XI. They have always backed me and I am not at all worried. I keep working hard in training sessions and do whatever the team needs.” he said.