India spinner Kuldeep Yadav has recalled his Test debut in 2017 and has revealed just how nervous and confused he was before the big moment. The left-arm spinner got his Test cap before the fourth and final match of the fiercely fought series against Australia.
And he did not take long to prove his worth. The series was locked at 1-1 and with Virat Kohli not playing the final match, India were under pressure. One can then just imaging just how pressurised a debutant can be in that situation be. However, Kuldeep Yadav managed to overcome his nervousness and impressed with the ball to help India win the game and the series.
Recalling the match, Kuldeep Yadav spoke about his emotions ahead of his debut Test during the latest episode of Knights Unplugged, for the KKR website. He revealed he was so excited that he woke up at 3 in the morning and wanted to wake up Kohli but decided against it, fearing that he might get an earful from the captain.
“It was an honour! I was on the bench for three matches but kept preparing myself with Anil sir (Kumble), our the then coach. He backed me a lot. He exactly knew the kind of mindset young spinners have. I remember, a day before the debut, we were having lunch together,” said Kuldeep Yadav.
“He told me, you are playing tomorrow and I want 5 wickets from you. I was a little intimidated but I confidently said that I would definitely take. I slept early at 9PM and got up at 3AM, confused and nervous. I wanted to wake up Virat bhai who was next doors. But I was sure he would get mad at me. So, I went back to sleep and got up at 6AM.
“Somehow, I managed to spend one hour, ate breakfast and reached the ground. I was quite nervous but felt comfortable the moment all team members joined in. I got my cap and was feeling blank. It is a dream for all young cricketers to play Test cricket and my dream was coming true. I was pretty emotional. I remember I was fielding at deep square leg, and I was still nervous. But then I decided to just react normally like any other Ranji game,” he added.
Batting first, Australia were in a good spot early on with David Warner and Steve Smith in the middle. The scoreboard was reading 144 for 1 when Kuldeep Yadav finally dismissed Warner and turned the game on its head. He then went on to dismiss Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell and Pat Cummins to break the back of Australia’s batting.
“When I came to bowl, Steve Smith hit a boundary off a googly in my second over and I realised the difference between international and state level cricket,” recalled the chinaman bowler.
” Following lunch, I just tried to be relaxed and give my best. I started strategizing my game and bowled a few slower ones to David Warner and then mixed it up with a flipper, feeling it might clean him up or trap him LBW. He played the cut straight to the slip. That was my first wicket. It was one of the most happiest moments of my life and I got really emotional. My confidence rose and I got (Peter) Handscomb and (Glenn) Maxwell too,” he said.
Kuldeep Yadav is currently in UAE preparing for this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL). IPL 2020 is scheduled to start on September 19 while the final is on November 10.