His performance in the debut test match, that too against a heavyweight team like Australia, stole the show. Chinaman Spinner Kuldeep Yadav, after spending a long time on the sidelines, has now suddenly become the talk of Indian Cricket. The 22 years aged talented spinner, in a recent chat with the CricketSoccer, opens up his mind regarding his early days of cricket, his hard work, lessons he learned from the Indian dressing room and everything.
Here are the excerpts:
CricketSoccer: Would you call it a dream debut?
Kuldeep Yadav: Certainly. Playing cricket and representing my country was my dream. I am thankful to the Almighty that I get the chance to fulfill my dream. I would also like to thank the selectors and the Indian Team management for showing faith in my ability.
CS: How is the journey so far?
Kuldeep: I would say my hard work is now paid off. I didn’t even know what is Chinaman Spin when I first tried it in the nets. I was admitted to a cricket academy at Kanpur at a very young age. I always wanted to become a fast bowler. Wasim Akram was my childhood hero and I wanted to bowl like him. But my childhood coach, Mr, Kapil Pandey advised me to shift to spin bowling as he thought my height and physical structure would suit that better. I was a left-handed bowler and the first day I bowled left-arm spin at the nets, the ball turned the other way. I was not so happy as I still dreamt of becoming a pacer. But my coach made me realise that I can be successful if I bowl this Chinaman Spin regularly. I began to follow his advise and practiced very hard.
CS: Can you brief how did you prepare yourself to face the heat in a greater stage?
Kuldeep: I used to bowl whenever I got time. When I was in the seventh standard, I rarely attended school because I practiced in the mornings. From 6 am to 10 am, I just bowled to the batsmen, then bowling at single wickets, drills etc. Then again I used to come back at 2 pm and continue that same routine in the nets. Now I see the result of that hard work.
CS: You had the chance to meet Wasim Akram at the nets of Kolkata Knight Riders. How was the feeling?
Kuldeep: That was a wow moment for me. It was like a dream to meet Wasim bhai, talking to him and sharing my experiences. It felt good. Everyone was really good in the KKR squad, they were very helpful, right from Gautam Gambhir to all the seniors. I got to learn a lot and I improved a lot there.
CS: Sachin Tendulkar is also very supportive to you. What did he tell you?
Kuldeep: I first met him at the nets of Mumbai Indians. One day I suddenly came to know that I have to bowl to Sachin Paaji. I went blank. I went to the nets, bowled to him and got him out too. That was the best moment for me at that time. Sachin Paaji has always encouraged me to do well.
CS: You look more fit than you used to be two years back. Is there any change in your training schedule?
Kuldeep: Now I work a lot on my fitness. After the IPL, I just concentrated on training and bowling all the time. These were the only two things I was concentrating on. As the Duleep Trophy approached, I felt lighter, bowled with ease and my fitness levels had gone up. Even when I bowled long spells, I didn’t feel tired.
CS: What lessons have you learned from the Indian dressingroom?
Kuldeep: I am very fortunate to be a part of this Indian team. I have learned many things. How the players prepare themselves before a crucial match, what is their routine, how do they remain calm and composed even in a crunch situation. Virat Bhai (Virat Kohli) has always been very helpful. He always set an example to others. His work ethics really inspire me.