Kuldeep Yadav (Photo Source: FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP via Getty Images)
Indian spinner Kuldeep Yadav has given insights into his novel bowling style since his return from injury. Kuldeep has been the man of the moment, having picked a sensational fifer against Pakistan in the Asia Cup Super Four clash before returning with a four-wicket haul against Sri Lanka on the very next day in consecutive victories for India.
Kuldeep revealed his old action was putting pressure on his knee, something he worked on after recovering from the injury. His remodelled run-up – he runs in much straighter than before now – has helped him bowl at quicker speeds in addition to keeping his body slightly behind the ball than before, making his action smoother and more rhythmic by his own admission.
“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,” Kuldeep told Star Sports.
Kuldeep revealed his gameplan when facing both left- and right-handed batters, underlining the importance of bowling at the correct lines and lengths and ensuring to cramp the batters for room.
“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. 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.
Kuldeep, one of the 15 men selected for the impending ODI World Cup at home, also shed light on India’s spin combination for the tournament. The squad does not have an off-spinner, but do India need one? Kuldeep does not think so.
“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.”