India bowler Kuldeep Yadav has always been vocal about his admiration for Shane Warne and over the years, the Australian legend has become his mentor and friend.
Yadav made his Test debut against Australia in 2017 and during that series, he was introduced to Warne by then-India head coach, Anil Kumble.
In an interview to Instagram show ‘Live Connect’, Kuldeep Yadav recalled his meeting with Warne. The meeting was a special moment for Yadav, and he was so ecstatic that he couldn’t say anything to Warne for ten minutes. He said:
"I met Shane Warne during a Test match in Pune. When I met him for the first time, Anil Kumble was our coach and I had told him I want to meet Shane Warne. When I finally did, I couldn't say anything for 10 minutes. He was talking with Anil bhai, explaining to him something. I was just listening to both of them. Then finally, I started to talk. We talked a lot. I told him about my plans, about how I feel while bowling, how I try to bowl from different sides of the wicket. He told me 'You think a lot'."
Kuldeep Yadav went on to say that Warne is mentally very strong and, it always seemed like he was using his mind to dismiss some batsmen. The pair have been in frequent touch since their first meeting and share a good friendship now.
"I met him many times after that. He always used to guide me like a coach. Gradually he became like a friend. I spent a lot of time with him during our Australia tour. I always got the feeling that if I needed someone for suggestions he would be there. I chatted a lot on phone calls and messages.”
Kuldeep Yadav has played six Tests, 60 ODIs and 21 T20Is so far, claiming 24, 104 and 39 wickets respectively. He will next be seen playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2020 IPL, which is scheduled to begin next month in the UAE.