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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 24 July 2024

T20 World Cup 2024: Kuldeep Yadav has rivals in a spin, finds home away from home 

On slow wickets in the Caribbean that are comparatively better for batting than in New York, Team India required the services of an extra spinner and brought Kuldeep into the XI in place of pacer Mohammed Siraj

Sayak Banerjee Calcutta Published 24.06.24, 11:11 AM
Kuldeep Yadav (left) celebrates with teammates after one of his three wickets during the T20 World Cup match against Bangladesh in North Sound on Saturday

Kuldeep Yadav (left) celebrates with teammates after one of his three wickets during the T20 World Cup match against Bangladesh in North Sound on Saturday PTI

For Kuldeep Yadav, “helping out the teammates and carrying the drinks is more like playing”. Having done his job as the 12th man in the group phase of the ongoing T20 World Cup, Kuldeep is back to doing what he does best... Bamboozling batters.

On slow wickets in the Caribbean that are comparatively better for batting than in New York, Team India required the services of an extra spinner and brought Kuldeep into the XI in place of pacer Mohammed Siraj. And the left-arm wrist spinner delivered almost immediately.

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Yes, Jasprit Bumrah’s control and accuracy upfront against Afghanistan and Bangladesh made matters easier for the rest of India’s bowling attack in their Super Eight campaign so far. Both opponents also lacked enough quality and firepower with the bat. Yet, Kuldeep has to be credited. There was no rust in him despite being out of the XI during the entire group phase. Once in, he took little time to adapt to the conditions.

Two wickets for 32 runs in his four-over spell against the Afghans in Bridgetown was followed by an even sharper showing (3/19 in 4 overs) against Bangladesh. Besides, the North Sound pitch for Saturday’s game had more help for batters and Bangladesh were in with a glimmer of hope during the second-wicket stand between opener Tanzid Hasan and captain Najmul Hossain Shanto.

But Kuldeep first slipped in the wrong ’un that had Tanzid lbw before bowling one that didn’t turn much and trapped Towhid Hridoy plumb in front of the stumps. Thanks to those two strikes in his back-to-back overs, India were more or less in control of the game before they eventually won it comfortably by 50 runs.

“When I saw his stats before this game, I think he was on 61 (wickets) from 36 matches. So, that shows how good a bowler he is and he can only grow from here.

“At this moment, he’s a confident bowler. The captain has given him that confidence,” lauded Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, Kuldeep’s third scalp on Saturday.

That the left-arm wrist-spinner has allowed only two boundaries and three maximums off his eight overs in this World Cup also underline the discipline with which he has bowled. And of course, his approach.

“For any spinner, the length matters a lot. Especially in this format, you have to read what the batters are trying to do, while your approach should also be very aggressive. So, that has helped me during the IPL as well as in this T20 World Cup,” Kuldeep emphasised.

"Besides, I knew the conditions very well having made my ODI and T20I debut here (in the Caribbean) back in 2017. So, having fair knowledge of the conditions, I just tried to stick to a proper length and tried to vary my pace. It's perfect for spinners to come here and bowl."

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