Kuldeep Yadav’s Quick And Steady Rise in International Cricket
Kuldeep Yadav celebrates a wicket with Suresh Raina during the first T20I against England in Manchester on Tuesday.
Kuldeep Yadav celebrates a wicket with Suresh Raina during the first T20I against England in Manchester on Tuesday.(Photo: AP)

Kuldeep Yadav’s Quick And Steady Rise in International Cricket

When Kuldeep Yadav made his debut for India against Australia in March 2017 at Dharamsala, the Chinaman bowler impressed one and all with his four-wicket haul in the first innings of the Test. The youngster was creating history with his first international game at the senior level, becoming the first left-arm wrist-spinner to don the white flannels for his country.

However, his impressive performance in the match was pushed into the shadows over time, as his debut became a topic of discussion in the widely reported fall-out between captain Virat Kohli and then head coach Anil Kumble. It was believed that the cold blood between the Indian skipper and former head coach first came into existence during the Dharamsala Test and that too, over the selection of Yadav in the playing XI.

The youngster, who had barely played for India by then, thus became privy to unnecessary and negative attention early on. At that juncture in his career, a lot could’ve gone wrong for him even before he got a chance to prove himself at the biggest of stages.

Kuldeep Yadav and Murali Vijay celebrate the dismissal of Australia’s Peter Handscomb in the former’s first Test match.
Kuldeep Yadav and Murali Vijay celebrate the dismissal of Australia’s Peter Handscomb in the former’s first Test match.
(Photo: Reuters)

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When one is young and still trying to find his feet in a profession, an incident like this can easily push him down the wrong path. It can make one feel uncomfortable at best, claustrophobic at worst. It can nibble at one’s confidence, force one into self-pity and make him susceptible to melancholia over time.

However, the storm that Yadav faced early on in his journey as an India international did not disrupt his life. Instead, it helped clear the path to his meteoric rise in the sport.

Today, the 23-year-old is the X factor of the Indian limited-overs side going into any game. The trump card in Kohli’s hands, the ace the skipper throws when he wants instant results.

Be it India, West Indies, Sri Lanka, South Africa, or the UK, Yadav has asserted his supremacy with the ball everywhere across the globe, against all kinds of opposition. The man from Uttar Pradesh operates with a seamless blend of talent and tack, bringing his best to the table almost every time he sets foot on the field.

The bounce, unorthodox spin and turn he extracts from the surface shows the innate skill set he possesses. However, what makes him so lethally effective with the ball is that he ameliorates its impact with tactfulness and vigilance. The variation he brings forth in the length and pace of his deliveries, as well as the expertise with which he uses the wrong’un, are responsible for the incredible success he has attained in international cricket over such a short period of time.

Yadav’s bowling averages of 20.77, 20.02 and 11.79 in Test, ODI, and T20I cricket respectively are testament to the consistency of his craft.

He is not afraid to toss the ball up to clinch wickets and knows the importance of pitching it in the right areas at all times. His brave and bodacious approach to limited-overs bowling underlines the important characteristics of his personality: ambition and astuteness. These are the qualities that constitute the vital cog to any success story across international sport.

Along with being an exceptional individual performer, Yadav knows what it means to play in a team. The rapport that he has built with Yuzvendra Chahal has not only helped India clinch a number of victories, but has also been the reason for the soaring heights achieved by the duo over the last few months.

Despite donning similar kind of roles in the Indian bowling line-up, the young wrist-spinners do not compete against each other on the field. Instead, one aids and inspires the other at all times, helping Kohli hold an ace in the hole in almost every international encounter.

File photo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. 
File photo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. 
(Photo: AP)

In the first game of the England tour at Old Trafford, Yadav became the first chinaman bowler to take a five-wicket haul in T20 international cricket. He terrorised the batting line-up that recently whitewashed Australia 5-0 in an ODI series, one that is being revered as the best English limited-overs side in history of the sport.

The 23-year-old became just the third Indian to dismiss five batsmen in a T20I game, stopping the pugnacious English attack dead in its tracks. It was a bowling performance that exuded talent, temperament, and acumen: everything that this young wrist-spinner stands for at this moment.

Yadav started off as a fast bowler but swapped pace for turn early in his cricketing journey. Bamboozling Sachin Tendulkar with a wrong’un in a nets session during his stint with the Mumbai Indians remains one of the greatest memories of the youngster’s still nascent career.

Yadav has what it takes to make it big in the field. His bowling has a seamless mix of flair and practicality, while his personality exudes a perfect nuptial of desire and persistence. With his feet firmly planted on the ground, this cricketer can go unprecedented distances for his side, reaching destinations others can only dream of.

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(Rupin Kale is a freelance writer, who believes in the power and purity of sport. She is extremely passionate about sport and has learnt a lot about life by just following it through the years.)

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