There was a time when batting had very little meaning for the tail-enders. It was mostly about rotating strike if and when an opportunity came their way.
But with the game evolving, the perception has changed entirely. These days, the teams are encouraging the tail-enders to take batting more seriously and chip in with quick runs at the fag end.
India’s key spinner, Kuldeep Yadav, too agrees that for any team, it is extremely important to strengthen the tail. “Of course, batting is important – be it in ODIs or Test cricket. I am focusing more on batting. In every session, I am batting for 20 odd minutes,” Kuldeep said, ahead of India’s second ODI against Australia.
With the World Cup nearing, the chinaman bowler is working with India’s batting coach Sanjay Bangar. “Batting is important because sometimes we get to bat in the last over and you need to win (games for the team). So, my focus is there,” Kuldeep said.
Ever since he made his debut for India, a couple of years ago, there have been talks that Kuldeep and Yuzvendra Chahal have completely outdone the spin pair of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
But Kuldeep doesn’t subscribe to this idea. “No, not at all, we haven’t (shown the door) anyone,” he said. “We got the opportunity and we delivered. They have always been doing well for India. In Test matches, Ash (Ravichandran Ashwin) and Jaddu bhai are playing. And we learn a lot from them,” he said. “They carry a lot of experience, when I am in the Test team, I learn a lot from them. Whenever we got an opportunity, Chahal and I have performed for the team and that helped the team to win, so we are happy with it,” he said.
While India is already 1-0 up in the series, there have been instances when the Australian batsmen looked at ease against Kuldeep. “Sometimes the batsmen plays well. In Australia, Shaun Marsh was playing really well (against me) and they (team management) wanted to give a break (to me) for a couple of games,” he said.
But then, Kuldeep watched videos of Marsh’s batting and picked up a few things to tackle the Aussie batsman. “Marsh plays spinners well. He plays them on front foot. I have seen a lot of his videos and have planned accordingly. Let’s see (how I implement them),” the spinner said.
He has been in the international circuit for two years now and with the help of video analysts, Kuldeep has been able to spot the weaknesses of a batsman. “I am just sticking to my basics, that is more important thing for me. Of course, few batsmen are very good against me and they are playing really well, so I’m just trying different things in the nets and trying to apply them in the game,” he said.
The VCA Stadium wicket appears to be a flat deck, but Kuldeep isn’t concerned. “I never see the wicket before the match. The wicket here is generally slow for the spinners, so it is important to vary pace on this wicket,” Kuldeep said, making it clear that ‘every game is a new’ challenge for the team.
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