In the final match of the Border-Gavaskar trophy this year at the picturesque ground of Dharamsala, a youngster made his debut and he helped the Indian crowd to go absolutely berserk in exhilaration when he bagged 4 vital Aussie scalps by giving away just 68 runs. Yes, we are talking about the first ever Indian left arm wrist spinner, Kuldeep Yadav.
Sometimes, things do happen for a reason. Otherwise, Kapil Pandey, Kuldeep’s childhood mentor wouldn’t have asked him to switch to wrist spin in lieu of left-arm fast bowling. Chinaman bowlers belong to the rarest ilk of spin bowling; fortunately the talent of young Kuldeep Yadav was readily spotted by his mentor.
For years, India has been a land of multifarious legendary spinners and ergo, it is quite conceivable that Kuldeep’s coveted entrée to this Indian team wasn’t very easy, especially when India already possess two world class spinners – Ashwin and Jadeja in their arsenal.
Kuldeep Yadav first attracted the selector’s attention when he was selected to play for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Champion’s League 2014 when their mainstay in the bowling department, Sunil Narine got suspended due to his bowling action. Kuldeep bowled beautifully throughout the tournament by being extremely niggardly in a format where bowlers are taken for granted to be thrashed all around the ground. But that was all for then.
It was in the 2016 version of IPL where KKR think-tank really started to use his bowling prowess and Kuldeep also responded in an apropos manner. He evinced his prowess of manoeuvring all his chicaneries with equal dexterity and finally came in the limelight when he bamboozled David Warner with an impeccable wrong’un.
Still, he had to wait almost one year to get his chance until March, 2017. Since then, it has been a jolly ride for him. After leaving the Aussies ensorcelled with his wizardry in whites, he recently made his debut in coloured clothes as well in the Caribbean Islands. Kuldeep Yadav has been one of the few points of interest in this ostensibly bland and insipid series.
In modern day cricket, where batsmen use chubby bats that has several sweet-spots, Kuldeep Yadav is one incredible exception who still tries to defeat the batsman in the air. Besides his impeccable flights that are aesthetically pleasing and lethal simultaneously, he also mastered three more deceptions that he uses when the situation demands. In his debut at Dharamsala, he picked Warner with a flipper and Maxwell with a wrong’un. On both occasions, the two power-hitters were absolutely bamboozled and had no clue about which way the ball is going. Great thing is, he is still eager to learn and trying to add something more to repertoire with his stock ball.
Although, Indian team is rich in its spin department with having Ashwin and his metronomic partner, Jadeja, the team management should take the initiative to give more and more opportunities to this talented youngster, even outside subcontinent. A wrist-spinner is one who adds a certain je ne sais quoi to your team and can scythe through the opposition middle order by picking wickets that matter. Kuldeep’s gritty style of bowling of alluring batsmen with his flight proves that he only looks for wicket when he plays.
India will be playing a lot of test and limited overs matches in the coming months and mostly in outside the subcontinent. Getting opportunity in those on a regular basis might transubstantiate this youngster from a promising bowler to an indispensable asset. All we need is to keep a little faith on him.