Left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav’s stupendous run in ODIs this year has hit a crescendo in the ongoing Asia Cup. After picking 5-25 against Pakistan in a rain-hit Super Four match, Kuldeep took 4-43 against Sri Lanka, and also became the leading wicket-taker for the visitors in the Asia Cup.
Kuldeep credited his good run to changing the mindset from getting a wicket to thinking about bowling in the right length, ever since he made a comeback from knee injury last year. That injury cut Kuldeep’s time in IPL 2021 second half in the UAE, forcing him to go under the surgeon’s scalpel.
"Of course, when I was injured, then our physio said that whatever happens, I should not have a load on my knee. I didn't know how to do that. Two or three months passed, and I was recovering slowly. I started my run-up more quickly, and I didn't cut my angle.
"Then slowly, I started thinking to bowl straight, and it was easier for me. I have become more aggressive, and my rhythm has become better. It didn't come naturally; it took about 5-6 months. Sometimes in the IPL, I was breaking my rhythm, and I was missing my stepping, so it wasn't easy.
"After 6-7 months, I got my proper rhythm, and now it has become easier to bowl. So we always talk about the length, and the more a spinner bowls, the more experience he gets. So I don't think that much about getting a wicket now. I think more about how my length should be," said Kuldeep to Star Sports.
Kuldeep also spoke on what his game plan is against a left-handed or right-handed batsman. "I'm focusing more on good length deliveries, whether it is a lefty or a righty. And along with that, the line matters as well. The way the white ball format is, the more room you give the batsman to free his arms, the easier it is for him to bat.
"So I always think about locking the batsman, bowl at the stumps, whether it's a lefty or righty, to keep him locked and bowl at the stumps. He shouldn't get an opportunity to free his arms because if he does, it is easy for him to connect his shots. But the target is to bowl at a good length and keep him locked," he said.
The 28-year-old also shared his perspective on India not having an off-spinner in the side. "I don't think of myself as an off-spinner; I think of myself as a classic leg-spinner. The only thing is I bowl from the left hand. I have variations and a googly as well.
"So I don't think you need to have an off-spinner. If your team's combination is sitting well, then you don't need to play 3-4 spinners. If you have two quality spinners, then I think that works."