World Cup 2019: How Kuldeep Yadav fought his demons

Renowned spin-bowling coach Carl Crowe, who spent time with Kuldeep Yadav in KKR, says he kept the chinaman bowler motivated during the lull period through conversations.

Kuldeep Yadav

When the going was tough for Kuldeep Yadav, India skipper Virat Kohli instilled confidence in the spinner by bringing him early to attack key batsmen in crunch games.   -  Reuters

A spin bowler tries his best to preserve the deception. It is one of the biggest challenges, specially for chinaman bowlers. Batsmen often take time to get used to the angle, turn and elevation but if found out, it can lead to punishment.

The wrist spin renaissance has been a talking point in cricket in the past few years. Merlyn spin-bowling machines were supplied to all counties in England and subsequently, IPL led to a boom in the video analysis industry. More chinaman net bowlers frequented training sessions of international sides.

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Kuldeep Yadav returned from the ‘fear of getting exposed’ phase. Afghanistan star leggie Rashid Khan was pushed into it by Eoin Morgan in last week’s World Cup 2019 rubber. “But it is all fine,” says renowned spin-bowling coach Carl Crowe in an interaction with Sportstar.

The Kolkata Knight Riders spin-bowling coach, who resurrected Sunil Narine with a remodeled action, feels it gets tricky for spinners in the IPL. And there is nothing wrong if one has a poor tournament. “If you have to bowl leg-spin where millions are watching, it may not go down well for you at times.”

Kuldeep’s performance had dropped in the 2019 edition. When he looked for repair, Moeen Ali mauled him for 27 runs in an over to send him into oblivion for a while. While he warmed the benches after four wickets in nine games, it was Crowe who kept his hunger intact by talking.

“The World Cup is definitely in the mind but his focus was to do well in the IPL for Kolkata Knight Riders. He was working at the nets [with other players] and I was working one-on-one to keep him ready. Some extra work there. But he is mentally tough. If you are a spinner, you have to recognise that you have to endure a few of those knocks. It can knock you off. He came back and bowled decently [2/38] against Pakistan.”

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“We would just talk and discuss, sharing ideas so that he could bowl with a bit more freedom. You are the coach of the player working one-to-one, you need to hold them and tell them their strengths. It is the approach. He got Babar Azam with a normal leg-spinner. You don’t have many left-arm leg-spinners, that gives you a good platform and it is an advantage. It is the energy with the ball that gives a spinner direction and that is what is playing with him right now,” adds Crowe.

World Cup comeback

Having played for Leicestershire as an off-spinner, Crowe — familiar with the conditions in the United Kingdom — praised India skipper Virat Kohli for instilling confidence in Kuldeep by bringing him early to attack key batsmen in crunch games. “Virat Kohli has done the right thing by doing that. He bowled at key players [and got results]. He learnt his lessons from that IPL game.”


Kuldeep Yadav (left) with Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni in the ongoing ICC World Cup 2019.   -  AP


“To be honest, confidence is the key. Rashid, one of the best bowlers in the world, conceded over 100 against England. It is not a big issue in my opinion. Sometimes, it is your day it goes your way you can take five wickets,” he reasons.

Kuldeep’s coach Kapil Pandey is always hopeful that a batsman is bound to fall prey to the googlies and the wrong ‘uns.

Read: India exposed to Afghan spin trick

Before India’s tour of England in 2018, Pandey had lined up his best students to charge Kuldeep in the Rovers ground in Kanpur in soaring 42 degrees. “How long can a batsman hold a flipper, googly and the rest of the stock balls? Eventually, he will charge aiming for runs,” Pandey is confident.

The Afghanistan spinners restricted India to 224 for the loss of eight wickets in Southampton on Saturday. The success of Rashid (1/38). Mujeeb ur Rahman (1/26), Mohammad Nabi (2/33) and Rahmat Shah (1/22) is perhaps good news for Kuldeep. 

He will be looking to hit the rough.

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