MS Dhoni’s advice helped immensely, says Kuldeep Yadav; recalls Anil Kumble’s ‘challenge’ to him on Test debut

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Updated: May 03, 2020 6:14 PM

The young spinner, who now has made a mark for himself in the international arena, said that he no longer remembers what Sivaramakrishnan had said to him as his mind was blank at that stage.

Kuldeep also spoke highly of former Indian captain MS Dhoni who has been famous for his comments and feedback from behind the stumps.

Indian chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav has recalled the fond memories of his test debut at Dharamshala in 2017 against Australia. In a video programme on Cricbuzz, the left arm spinner has said that the then head coach of the India team, legendary spinner Anil Kumble, had told him to take a fifer in his debut while informing him of his selection into the playing 11. Kuldeep, who was picked as the third spinner along with Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the game, says he paused for a while to think, and then promised Kumble that he would take a five wicket haul.

He has also revealed his mental state when he was handed over his India cap by a former Indian leg spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan. The young spinner, who now has made a mark for himself in the international arena, said that he no longer remembers what Sivaramakrishnan had said to him as his mind was blank at that stage.

The pressure on players while making their debut in international cricket can be enormous, and Kuldeep Yadav’s case was no different. He has said that he was tensed about his performance on such a big stage but a couple of overs before the lunch interval of the first day’s play helped him calm his nerves. In his words, he decided to take it as just like another Ranji Trophy match, and added that Test cricket has a special place close to his heart.

Kuldeep also spoke highly of former Indian captain MS Dhoni who has been famous for his comments and feedback from behind the stumps. Yadav has said that it is impossible for him to remember all such moments when MS guided him, as such instances were countless. However, Kuldeep says he will never forget one of Dhoni’s suggestions — to spin the ball instead of bowling flat. Kuldeep has likened Dhoni to his childhood coach for having a similar understanding of the game and his thoughts on spin bowling, and this similarity made him feel like he was not missing his coach.

Kuldeep was added to the playing 11 as a ‘force multiplier’ in a bid to bolster the spin strength of the Indian team in the last match of the Australia series. The series was evenly poised at 1-1 and the Indian team was in immense pressure to not lose a home series against the Aussies. However, the absence of captain Virat Kohli, who had injured his shoulder in the third test match of the series at Ranchi, made it an uphill task for India.

Although Kuldeep could not live up to the promise he had made to the then coach Kumble, he came pretty close to it and picked four Aussie wickets. This earned a place of reckoning in the side, and ever since, whenever the Indian team requires a third spinner, Kuldeep’s place is a certainty. He picked up the prized scalps of David Warner (who was well settled at the crease), Peter Handscomb, and Glenn Maxwell in the game.

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