"Virat bhaiya is guiding me to make my place in Tests": interview with Kuldeep Yadav
As the South Africa vs India Test series ends and the Men in Blue get ready to don the blues, we caught up with Kuldeep Yadav the night before he left for South Africa.
The moment I began, he requested me to wrap it up in 5-7 minutes, the reason, which he mentioned in the last answer, left both of us laughing. He spoke at length about his fitness goals, the controversial 'suicide' comment, his relationship with Brad Hogg, and many other things.
1. You look much fitter than before. Any revised fitness goals?
I started working on my fitness in 2014 when I was with KKR (Kolkata Knight Riders) where I worked with Ethan. If you are fit, you can perform much better. I have seen that difference in myself in these last couple of years. I am hoping to get fitter in the years to come.
2. Yuzvendra Chahal speaks highly about you being a big support to him from the other end in the limited-overs format. What do you have to say on this?
We back each other to the hilt on the field. It is a pleasure bowling in tandem and snapping up wickets. I am very happy that he is my partner-in-crime, and we are doing a fine job for India.
3. Brad Hogg, Australia’s Chinaman bowler, is all praise for you. How did sharing the dressing room with him in KKR help you as a player?
He has helped me a lot. It’s very important to get proper guidance and I have got to learn a lot from his experience. He has played across the globe and he had wonderful insights to share with me. He taught me the nuances of googly, flipper, Chinaman et al. If you are turning the ball both ways and have copious variations, the batsmen are always guessing, and that’s what makes it difficult for them to read me.
4. During the Australian series at home last year, Michael Clarke said that he’s mighty impressed by you and is your fan. He even compared you to Brad Hogg.
I am very lucky to have a legend like Michael Clarke showering me with glowing praise. Though I feel I still have a long way to go to reach Brad Hogg’s level.
5. Who is tougher to bowl to in Tests? The one who is looking to attack or the one who is happier to defend all day?
I have played just two games and for me, it’s a challenge to bowl to every batsman. If someone is on the rampage, the pressure starts mounting. It becomes important to stay calm and focus on your basics. A batsman who reads your mind and can anticipate your variations is the toughest to bowl to.
6. How long will it be before you permanently cement your place in the Test team?
I am working on this. Virat (Kohli) bhaiya too has been guiding me on this. It’s the start of my career and I am putting my best foot forward. It will eventually happen. Perhaps, soon.
7. So far in your career, which has been the most satisfying wicket for you?
David Warner’s wicket in my debut Test. It was a huge wicket, and my career took off from there.
8. The top 5 searches Google throws up when one searches Kuldeep Yadav are the articles pertaining to you contemplating suicide…
(Laughs) I was frustrated at that time. I never contemplated suicide. The only thing I thought of was leaving cricket to focus on my studies. But my coaches and father wanted me to play. I was just 13.
9. How do you unwind when you’re not playing cricket?
I Netflix and chill! I am a movie buff. I love watching football too.
10. Which is the TV series that you are currently watching?
I have just finished ‘Dark’.
11. Who is your favourite footballer?
Neymar is my favourite player. I am a big fan of his. I hope to meet him someday.
12. One thing that people don’t know about Kuldeep Yadav?
I am a bit shy. I don’t talk much. I guess I’ll have to work on this.