Kuldeep Yadav’s lacklustre display in the Indian Premier League (IPL) will not impact his performance at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has said.
Kuldeep, a left-arm chinaman bowler who is expected to play a vital role in India’s World Cup campaign, has taken only four wickets from nine matches in the IPL for Kolkata Knight Riders. He was dropped in the last contest against Sunrisers Hyderabad due to “poor form.”
“There is no doubt that Kuldeep is going through a rough patch in [the] IPL. T20 is a format which can destroy the confidence of any bowler but let’s not compare formats. One-day [match] is a different ball game and you will see a very different Kuldeep,” Harbhajan told PTI .
Kuldeep does not have any technical problem with his bowling, contends Harbhajan. “I have watched a bit of his bowling and I don’t think there is any technical problems. And please check who all are hitting Kuldeep. The Indian guys are primarily hitting him. Virat [Kohli] in two games, Mayank [Agarwal], Mandy [Mandeep Singh], Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, [and] Shikhar Dhawan. Leave aside Virat, who is in a different league; all these guys are competent players of spin bowling. They read Kuldeep’s wrists much better than foreign batsmen. So in [the] World Cup, Kuldeep will be bowling mostly to those who are still not reading him well. I think you will see a different Kuldeep,” Harbhajan said.
Harbhajan expects Kuldeep to show some situational awareness when getting hit by the batsmen. “If he is getting hit by giving the deliveries more air, for a change, he can just push it a bit faster. If they are stepping out and hitting from length, he can just alter the length by half a yard. Now when you get hit, your mind does not work automatically. So there comes in the captain, who should tell him, ‘Okay, you have tried your thing, now try what I am telling you’. It helps a youngster,” he said.
In the World Cup, no team will be consistently attacking Kuldeep, according to Harbhajan.
“He may get hit but in the middle overs, the skipper will pack one side of the field, whether it’s inside [the] 30-yard circle or outside. Even if he is hit for two fours, he can come back with figures of 3 for 50 or 2 for 45 on most days. And that’s decent figures. In ODIs, you have to be a real bad bowler to go for 75-80 runs everyday.”
Another factor that will work in his favour is the period of play he is expected to bowl. “In IPL, Kuldeep is bowling the 14th or even the 16th over when batsmen are throwing their bats around. In World Cup, Virat will probably finish their quota by latest 42nd or 43rd over. So the last seven overs, which will always be tricky, they are not expected to bowl,” Harbhajan said.