Lockdown diaries: Kuldeep Yadav busy painting, training indoors

Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav usually doesn’t have much time to devote towards painting, but the unexpected break has opened up windows of opportunity.

India's ace chinaman Kuldeep Yadav with one of his paintings.

India's ace chinaman Kuldeep Yadav with one of his paintings.   -  Special Arrangement

A canvas, some paint brushes, and different shades of colours are keeping Kuldeep Yadav busy these days. Stuck at home due to the nation-wide lockdown, the Indian spin ace is pursuing his ‘old passion’ of painting, quite seriously.

“Since childhood, I love painting. And now that I have got some time, I am making the most of the opportunity,” Kuldeep told Sportstar.

Between tours and training, Kuldeep usually doesn’t have much time to devote towards painting, but the unexpected break has opened up windows of opportunity.

“We are all at home, so painting takes away a lot of time and I am quite enjoying it. Apart from that, I am spending quality time with my family and doing a bit of training indoors. That’s how life is, these days,” the 25-year-old said.

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Kuldeep flaunts his off-field skills.   -  Special Arrangement

 

It’s that time of the year when cricketers usually remain busy with the Indian Premier League. But this time around, things are different. With the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, sporting action, too, has come to a halt.

“Usually, we play the IPL around this time. But this year, we aren’t. It’s a different feeling really, because in the IPL, you always tend to be under pressure. But this time, we are just staying at home, relaxing. It is quite unbelievable,” Kuldeep, who plays for Kolkata Knight Riders, said.

However, he has been strictly following the guidelines issued by the Indian team’s trainer Nick Webb.

“We are in touch with the trainer and following his suggestions. He (Webb) sends us the programme per week, so that’s helping us a lot. We are actually communicating very well. But for now, we are not thinking about playing any matches. It’s important that we take care of ourselves and fight the coronavirus pandemic,” he said. “Maybe, we will start playing again in July or August, once the situation improves.”

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Times like these could actually be tough for a cricketer and Kuldeep agrees that it is a challenge to stay positive. “In these times, we can’t even hit the ground, neither can we train outdoors. So, indoor training is the only way out. There are no skill work involved. I am doing all the drills at home, sweating it out at the treadmill and working a bit on the bowling action, just to keep myself ready and fit…”

Ever since breaking into the Indian team in 2017, Kuldeep has had a fair amount of success, featuring in six Tests, 60 ODIs, 21 T20Is and scalping a total of 167 wickets. But last year, he looked off-colour and had quite a disappointing IPL season for Kolkata Knight Riders, where he was dropped from the final eleven in the middle of the season.

“Last year, my (performance) was not up to the standard. When I returned from New Zealand, I realised that I was having issues with the basics, so I went to my coach (Kapil Pandey) and we worked together for 20-25 days. I was gearing up for the ODI series against South Africa,” Kuldeep said.

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However, the outbreak led to the cancellation of the three-match ODI series. “In those 25 days of training with my coach, I really worked on the basics and I realised that I was missing the rhythm. During the training, I tried to fix that and even now, I am working on a few areas,” he said.

This unexpected long break has also helped Kuldeep in a way. While he is spending maximum time with the family, he has got a chance to reassess his performances. “I knew something was missing, and it was important to rectify the odds. Now, I am in a much better shape as compared to last year. I was missing the rhythm last year, and now, things look much better.”

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Another of Kuldeep's paintings, depicting Lord Krishna.   -  Special Arrangement

 

Staying at home for this long is not easy, but Kuldeep believes that it is important for everyone to stay indoors and follow the government’s guidelines. “For now, we are not thinking of cricket. We need to be careful for another 20-25 days and after that, things will slowly come to normal. Maybe then we can at least think of starting the training,” he said.

But what about the IPL? “Just like any other cricketer or cricket fan, even I am definitely waiting for the IPL to happen at a suitable time. We are missing the IPL for sure, but now, the focus should be on ensuring that we can tackle COVID-19. We must be careful.”

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