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Kuldeep Yadav, a pale shadow of himself

Opinion Saturday 27/March/2021 18:12 PM
By: Anis Sajan, Managing Director, Danube group
Kuldeep Yadav, a pale shadow of himself

Kuldeep Yadav, the Chinaman, who had burst into Indian team in 2017 after India's Champions Trophy loss to Pakistan, had tasted immediate success and was hailed as an outright match winner as players around the world found him hard to pick.

He got a hat-trick in only his 9th match of his career against Australia and against the West Indies he bagged another hat-trick to become the first Indian bowler to pick two hat-tricks and only five bowlers in the cricketing history have done this twice.

He has played 62 ODIs and picked 105 wickets at an astonishing average of just 27 with an economy of 5.13. Kuldeep has also done well in shorter format T20 where in 21 matches he has 39 wickets at a staggering average of just 13.76 with an economy of just 7.11.

But things have gone flat for Kuldeep since the 2019 IPL. I clearly remember the match in which Kuldeep was taken to the cleaners by RCBs Moeen Ali and he was literally in tears as he found the going tough after such a high in his first two years.

In an interview, Kuldeep mentioned that he was in good rhythm playing for KKR in the 2020 season in the UAE but did not get enough matches and hence did not get enough overs to bowl. He went on to say the last two years were the lowest point in his career.

Kuldeep is just 26 years, he attained success at an early age of 23 for the national team and had an impact on his team’s success. But with time, players started attacking him which brought his confidence down.

There was a time from 2017 to the middle of 2019 before the IPL, Kuldeep Yadav and Chahal who were fondly called as "Kolcha", had made life miserable for batsmen around the world with classical wrist spin bowling.

Even when I saw him bowling against England, there was that spark in his eyes with which he used to beat batsmen with the one ball going away that they found it difficult to pick and he would then follow up with a short ball which used to go for runs.

Kuldeep has just played six test matches in nearly four years and was hoping for a comeback especially against England in the home series but Axar Patel had such a terrific series along with Ashwin and the batting ability of Washington Sundar made sure he did not get a chance.

Kuldeep says he has seen success and failure very early in his life and that he understands things better now, but does he have a cool Captain like MS Dhoni who had guided him well during his successful tenure. Who will be that mentor for young Kuldeep to bring back his confidence? He has got the talent and the temperament but to succeed at the highest level you also need a Godfather.