Kuldeep Yadav - Can he be India's trump card at the World Cup?
Indian batsmen troubling the opposition and treating them with disdain is a story of the folklore, and it continues even today. We had the Gavaskars, the Kapils, the Sachins and now we have the Sharmas and the Kohlis, expressing all their might with a willow in their hand. However, a young bowling sensation whose expertise is totally unique and is foxing the batsmen at ease was totally unheard of. Yes, we are talking about Kuldeep Yadav. A modern representative of the chinaman family, Yadav is the one who lets his wrists do the talking. India has unearthed an unusual talent who can in all probability, take on the world and go further in stature and numbers than what the earlier famous chinaman bowlers haven’t gone to, Paul Adams and Brad Hogg.
Having started making waves due to his unique bowling action and style in the domestic season and then IPL, an India call-up was waiting to happen.
For a bowler who has not earned a direct entry into the Test set up as yet, Kuldeep is making a claim for himself as loud as any Indian bowler has ever done, or say at least since quite some time. Make no mistake, he took four wickets on his Test debut and even led the Indian team off the field after one of the sessions. He has David Warner as his first Test wicket to boast of, and rightly so. However, it remains an irony that he got his debut thanks to an injured Kohli and had to wait for his next Test for almost five months. He hasn’t played a Test since then.
For a bowler to make his debut across all the formats in the space of a few months speaks volumes of the potential this guy carries within himself. And has he disappointed in even a single format? Absolutely, no!
After being pushed off the cliff by him in the T20s, England knew they had to resort to damage control, especially with him. So much so that they had to arrange a special bowling machine that could dish out Kuldeep’s trajectories and variations. But again, he overpowered them with a six-wicket haul in the first ODI at Nottingham.
Let’s talk numbers!
In the two Tests he has played, he has picked up 9 wickets, a good start to the career to be fair to him. The 21 ODIs he has played, he has snarled 45 wickets at a miserly average and economy of 17.91 and 4.66 respectively. Of the 12 T20Is he has been a part of, he has accounted for 24 wickets at an average and economy rate of 13.20 and 7.28 respectively. These are good numbers for a wrist-spinner who has just started his career but carries a big heart.
What does the future hold?
The future is nothing but bright for this 23-year old. He has been fortunate enough to be in the best of the ranks throughout his career so far. Firstly, the KKR setup with stalwarts like Gautam Gambir and Wasim Akram backed him, then happened the U-19 World Cup in 2014, and finally an India debut in all the three formats. To be blunt enough to say, he has partnered with Yuzvendra Chahal and forged a spin duo that has been deadly enough to dethrone regulars like Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja from the limited-overs fold. With the World Cup less than a year away, he has made an impression that India cannot do without him, especially on English wickets that offer him so much.
With a cool head over his shoulders and the presence of MS Dhoni behind the stumps at the moment, he can ask for nothing more.
What a sight it is to see him ease past the batsman’s defense at will! How does he go from here, only time will tell.