Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav believes tweaks in his technique, including a straighter run-up and an aggressive rhythm, has helped him to improve his bowling and achieve success in ODI cricket.
The 28-year-old has taken 27 wickets from 14 matches this year, the highest by an Indian bowler in ODIs.
“After the (knee) surgery (last year), my run-up has become much straighter, and rhythm has become aggressive. My hand used to fall over but that has been controlled and now it (hand) is facing the batsman,” said Kuldeep at the post-match press conference after the 228-run victory over Pakistan on Monday.
Kuldeep, who triggered Pakistan’s collapse with a five-wicket haul, said he had worked on spin and drift post his surgery to improve his efficiency.
Against Sri Lanka on Tuesday, he took 4/43.
“I exerted care not to lose my spin and drift without losing my pace. If a leg-spinner lands the ball on a good length, he can pick up wickets more regularly and loose balls can be reduced. You can be consistent,” he added.
Kuldeep said he worked with the then NCA physio Ashish Kaushik post his surgery to reduce the burden on his knee while landing in the crease.
“I did not want to lose my zip, nip or drift. After surgery I went for a three-month recuperation at NCA and physio Ashish Kaushik said I had to reduce the load on my knee. So, I worked to make my rhythm faster,” he said.
However, Kuldeep said it took him some time for the remodelled action to reap benefits at the top level.
“I tried the new action in a practice game in Kanpur. The batsmen were struggling to face me. But even in the IPL and during the tour of the West Indies I was struggling with it (action). It took 6-7 matches for me to make it work.”
“There is more aggression in my bowling rhythm, the approach to the crease is good, and perhaps earlier my bowling hand used to fall a lot, it’s under control now and it is now facing more towards the batsman,” Kuldeep explained.
“At the same time, I have not lost my spin and drift, it is still there and my pace has also gone up. That’s why it is helping me. For some time now, I have only been thinking about hitting those good lengths consistently, it gives you more chances of taking wickets.
“(Am bowling) a bit more aggressive as well, hitting the stumps every time, that’s really helping me a lot,” Kuldeep added.
Kuldeep said he will always remember Monday’s effort since it came against Pakistan.
“I will always remember that I picked up five wickets against Pakistan when I retire. It is a big thing for me because Pakistan players can play spin well. If you perform against a side that plays spin well in the subcontinent, it motivates you,” he said.
“Every day, every morning when I wake up, I only think about ‘okay, whenever I will get the opportunity, I will stick to what I have got’. I have been working on my length since it matters the most.”
Written with PTI inputs