Kuldeep: ‘Chahal and I back each other’

India chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav discusses the importance of bowling partnerships in limited-overs cricket and his understanding with Dinesh Karthik, the new KKR skipper in the IPL.

Spin twins: India's Kuldeep Yadav (left) and Yuzvendra Chahal have worked well in tandem.   -  AP

Back from a successful tour of South Africa, young chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav is now gearing up for the Indian Premier League (IPL). The 23-year-old India spinner is one of the lucky blokes to return to his old franchise, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), through the Right-to-Match card option.

When Royal Challengers Bangalore thought it had acquired the services of Kuldeep at Rs 5.80 crore at the auctions, KKR played the magic card.

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On Thursday, in a chat with Sportstar, Kuldeep opened up on his plans for the season and decoded his magnificent partnership with leggie Yuzvendra Chahal.


You picked up 17 wickets in six ODI games in South Africa. What was the secret behind the consistency?

I didn’t try anything new. I stuck to basics and bowled my normal deliveries. As an individual, it was a great experience to perform in South Africa. As a team, it was even better. It is a good feeling if you perform and the team wins.

You had a great start to your career, along with Chahal, last year…

The support staff and the captain should be credited for protecting every player. They gave us enough chances to prove ourselves. 2017 was my best year. I got whatever I thought I would and I picked up wickets on every surface. I hope to continue the process in 2018.

I want to improve as a cricketer, as well as a human being. I want to live with everyone and play as a team.

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How special is it to bowl along with Chahal? Both of you seem to share a solid chemistry…

I have played a lot of cricket with Chahal. In limited-overs cricket, it is important to bowl in partnerships. The middle overs are crucial. Our plan has always been to plot breakthroughs. The best part is that we back each other. There is no pressure or any sense of competition.

How much do you discuss each other’s strength and weaknesses?

We keep talking all the time. We talk about field placements, how to read a particular batsman's mind and place a fielder for him at a suitable position. These conversations happen during matches as well as at the nets. The more we bowl in partnership, the more it gets easy.

Being a chinaman bowler is special, how difficult is it to get tips from coaches on your exclusive style?

I was fortunate to have spent time with Brad Hogg (former Australia chinaman bowler) in the KKR camp in the initial years. He taught me the wrong ’uns and told me a lot about variations in this style and how it could be implemented. I also worked hard with my coach, Kapil Pandey, and Narendra Hirwani (former India leg spinner).

Even KKR backed you a lot…

They are now like a family. I have spent four years with them. It is a good feeling to stay connected to a team. Gauti bhai (former skipper Gautam Gambhir) supported me a lot. It feels good that I will continue with KKR.

But now KKR has a new skipper in Dinesh Karthik, what are your thoughts on playing under him?

DK bhai and I have known each other for a long time. We have a good understanding. I am sure he will lead the team well and get us to a good position. He is a good man.

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KKR also picked many youngsters this season such as Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shubman Gill…

They have always promoted youngsters. It leads to a great environment.

India has two major overseas tours, in England and Australia, later this year. Are you mentally preparing for that?

I never think that much. The England tour will be challenging but I don’t want to take that pressure now. I will think about it after the IPL.

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