A tally of 21 wickets for Delhi Capitals in this year’s IPL had given Kuldeep Yadav enough confidence to translate that performance into a successful showing in India colours.
But unfortunately, just as India’s home T20Is versus South Africa were about to begin last month, Kuldeep was hit in his right hand while batting at the nets ahead of the first game, which ruled him out of the five-match series.
Nonetheless, the left-arm spinner, who has been at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore since then for treatment and recovery, is in a much better shape now. “Kuldeep has almost recovered. He won’t be here longer... Should be leaving in a few days,” an NCA source said on Sunday.
Kuldeep last donned the Team India jersey on February 27 in the third and final T20I versus Sri Lanka in Dharamsala. Thereafter, in the IPL, he was very sharp, finishing fifth on the list of the top wicket-takers.
Had he been able to play in the South Africa T20Is, Kuldeep would have had a fair chance of making an impact with his wrong’uns and other tricks, and be a strong contender for a berth in India’s T20 World Cup squad.
India still have some matches left to play leading up to the T20 World Cup in Australia. But when would it be possible for Kuldeep to make a comeback? He isn’t there in the squad for the three ODIs in the West Indies, while the team for the T20I leg of that tour will be announced soon.
India play five T20Is versus the Windies, beginning July 29.
According to the 27-year-old’s personal coach, Kapil Pandey, Kuldeep is “as good as 100 per cent fit” at present. “The injury he had sustained was more of a hairline fracture.
“He has been bowling at nets there at NCA for the last 15 days or so and is having no problems whatsoever in doing the other drills. That suggests he’s fit,” Pandey said, adding: “I would rather say he will be fit to play even in the Windies T20Is.
“Even if he doesn’t, I’m sure he’ll be available for India’s next series (versus Zimbabwe in August).”
Advice on diet
Alongside the tips on bowling that had paid him dividends in the IPL, Kuldeep’s coach has also advised him on his diet recently. “I told him to have more fruits and look after his protein intake,” Pandey said.
“At home, he cannot have non-vegetarian food. But I’ve explained to him that for more power, he should be eating fish, chicken and even red meat (mutton) to a certain extent when he’s away on tour.”