IPL 2020: The expectations from 'stronger' Kuldeep Yadav

Last year, Kuldeep Yadav’s confidence had dipped after being dropped for not performing up to the standards he had set in the 2017 and 2018 editions.

Kuldeep Yadav

Will Kuldeep Yadav be included in the starting XI against Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday?   -  Kolkata Knight Riders

Kuldeep Yadav had claimed 29 wickets in 28 matches for two consecutive seasons in the Indian Premier League before hitting a roadblock in 2019. The chinaman could pick up only four wickets in nine outings before being dropped, and that too, right before his maiden ICC Cricket World Cup.

There is no certainty of his inclusion in the starting XI against Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday but coach Brendon McCullum is hopeful that the chinaman will revive his career when given an opportunity.

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“I think naturally in any cricketer’s career, you will go through peak performance and then there will be times when you are challenged. That’s top level cricket. Other teams start doing research on you and they start to try and question your skills.  We have seen that Kuldeep has been challenged a little bit but he has come back stronger,” KKR head coach McCullum told reporters ahead of the team’s opening match.

Kuldeep’s ‘never say die’ determination has impressed the New Zealander. “He has come back stronger, and looks incredibly fit at the moment. He is determined and when given an opportunity, he is going to put up a show and go back to the lofty heights of being the chief Indian spinner. And that’s a great thing for captain, coach and players,” he said.

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Post IPL 2019, Kuldeep has appeared in two T20I matches; against West Indies and Sri Lanka at home. India won on both occasions and he picked up two wickets in Mumbai and Indore respectively, but at an economy of 11.25 and 9.50.

Length and speed

The conditions in the United Arab Emirates demanded subtle improvisations. Most of the spin bowlers are trying to bowl quicker through the air with varying lengths.

Skipper Dinesh Karthik revealed that it’s perhaps the talking point among all the franchises at present. “We have had those conversations with Kuldeep and the rest of the bowling unit. The kind of speeds they need to bowl. It’s changed from hereon. The bowlers are aware as well. Not only from us, all franchises have been having conversations about the speed and length,” he said.

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KKR CEO Venky Mysore confirmed that there is no more doubt regarding the availability of England and Australia players — Eoin Morgan, Pat Cummins and Tom Banton — as they successfully complete their quarantine period on Tuesday evening.

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