The first thing that comes to mind when you look at a rather unorthodox bowler like Ajantha Mendis, Sunil Narine or even Kuldeep Yadav, is mystery and intrigue.
But Kuldeep or Team India for that matter cannot depend on just the mystery factor – as it has worked against bowlers once the mystery has been unraveled.
Kuldeep, first of all, is not that much of a mystery bowler as Mendis or Narine. His bowling action is quite orthodox and straight-forward – similar to that of Shane Warne in his initial days.
One thing that clearly separates Kuldeep from other wrist-spinners is his left-arm.
“Obviously there is excitement. I was excited to play my debut test as well.So if I get a chance to play in Sri Lanka I will be very happy because this will be a result of my hardwork. While I am excited , I am also nervous because I want to perform.” said Yadav.
While Kuldeep delivers on most days, India wins on most days when Kuldeep does deliver. And when other bowlers contribute, India’s chances of winning are over 90%. Kuldeep took 21 wickets in the 7 limited-over internationals he played on the previous tour to England and Ireland, but the next best bowler on tour was Chahal with 9 wickets from 8 matches.
While Umesh Yadav managed some wickets in the death overs, Hardik Pandya could deliver only one brilliant spell of four wickets in the last T20I against England. India still managed to win both the T20I tournaments (against England and Ireland), but lost the three-match ODI series 1-2 since only Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma delivered in that series with either bat or ball.
While Kuldeep and Chahal have had to shoulder the bowling responsibility, within less than a year of finding a regular spot in the team, they have not disappointed the faith one bit. This is similar to India’s batting, where Virat Kohli has taken the onus on most days, followed by Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan.
Everyone who follows Indian cricket by now knows that players like Kohli and Kuldeep will contribute substantially on any given day. But if each individual in India’s playing eleven starts to take that onus and years for that reputation, there would be less factors to question India’s formidability.
Kuldeep’s boundary-less spell of 6 for 25 restricted England for 267 in an ODI on the same pitch where they scored 481 against defending World Cup champions Australia less than a month prior. But don’t make the mistake of keeping Kuldeep Yadav, or even Virat Kohli or Shane Warne at a pedestal above the team.
Greats like Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Matthew Hayden and even Sachin Tendulkar could only win a World Cup when other members in their team contributed, despite the fact that they topped their country’s charts.
As far as Kuldeep himself is concerned, he is doing his bit by taking the pressure of international cricket in his stride and fulfilling the job he has been signed up for. For the amount of spin he can extract, Kuldeep is definitely more talented than India’s leg-spin legend with 956 international wickets Anil Kumble – who introduced the former to the team.
But for all the talent in the world, Kuldeep knows that just like his mentors Warne and Kumble, only hard work will keep him going, and he is learning that with every passing day.