One of the most heartbreaking sights from this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) was Indian spinner Kuldeep Yadav being left in tears after a brutal assault by batsman Moeen Ali. The unfortunate incident happened in a game between Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the Eden Gardens where Kuldeep was smashed for 27 runs in an over and eventually conceded 59 runs in his four overs.
Kolkata went on to lose that game and Kuldeep did not feature in another IPL game this season after that drubbing. The game took a severe mental toll on the young chinaman bowler, and it looked like Kuldeep’s confidence had been shattered for good.
Indian fans were worried that Kuldeep, who has been an integral part of the Indian ODI team in the last couple of years, wouldn’t be able to get rid of the scars from that thrashing and won’t be at his best in the ICC World Cup 2019 in England.
However, it looks like the young spinner is slowly moving past that unfortunate episode and focusing on the rights. In India’s first match of the World Cup 2019 against South Africa, Kuldeep produced a solid performance, returning with figures of 1-46 in his ten overs. He bowled well in tandem with his spin partner Yuzvendra Chahal and looked in good rhythm – mixing his variations and speed, flighting the ball, giving it rip and extracting turn and bounce. Kuldeep got the wicket of J.P. Duminy with an in-dipper that turned in sharply and caught the batsman plumb in front.
This performance would have certainly boosted his confidence, and it holds him in good stead for the rest of the tourney.
“The team got a good start. To talk about bowling, the way the ball was coming out of the hand, it was very. It happened exactly how I wanted it to. The planning that Chahal and I had done it was very good. It was important for us to take wickets in the middle over, we worked on it, and it came off well,” Yadav was quoted as saying to the media in the ICC Mixed Zone after the game against South Africa.
The 24-year-old spinner has already had a great impact in ODIs for India, snaring 88 wickets in 45 matches at an average of 22.02. These are high numbers for someone so young, and Kuldeep has a long way to go. He is unorthodox, and batsmen usually find him tough to read. What’s most important is that he can spin the ball even on flat surfaces and reads the batsmen well.
The break after that IPL match where he was slaughtered would have done Kuldeep Yadav some good. He is playing his maiden World Cup, and he needed to be in positive spirits for it. More IPL games in that frame of mind might have destroyed his confidence.
Thankfully, he didn’t let that one horrible performance affect him too much and has come out stronger from it. One hopes that he improves steadily in the World Cup 2019 for India because an in-form chinaman bowler like Kuldeep Yadav is beautiful for the game and would add delightful color to the World Cup.