Kuldeep Yadav eyes the scalps of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli in IPL
The 23-year-old was picked up by the Kolkata Knight Riders, who utilised their Right to Match card for him in this year's auction
What's the story?
India's young chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav has made his intentions clear ahead of the commencement of IPL 2018, revealing that he has his countrymen's best two batsmen's scalps on his bucket list. “I would be lying if I said I don’t have any personal goals going into this season of the IPL. I too have a bucket list and I wish to dismiss Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni. You don’t get better players of spin bowling and the IPL is the only tournament when you get to have a go at them,” he had told CricketNext while India were participating in the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka last month.
In case you didn't know..
Kuldeep, alongside leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, has formed a key part of India's limited-overs side over the last one year. Such has been their dominance that even established bowlers like Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have struggled to find a place in the team since the 2017 Champions Trophy.
The 23-year-old, who has been a part of the Kolkata Knight Riders side for four seasons since 2014 after being an unnoticed member of the Mumbai Indians side earlier, was picked up by the Knight Riders themselves for INR 5.8 crore in this year's auction, utilising their Right to Match card for him.
The heart of the matter
Kuldeep laughed off that he felt “privileged” to be a part of the same national side as Kohli and Dhoni since he would then not have to bowl at them. “Sometimes I feel I am privileged that I am on the same team as them and don’t need to bowl to them on the international stage (laughs). But this year I want to dismiss them and this is the tournament that gives me that opportunity,” he said.
For the first time since Kuldeep's days at the Knight Riders franchise, the team will be witnessing a change in leadership, with the baton being passed on from Gautam Gambhir, who led them to titles in 2012 and 2014, to Dinesh Karthik, who is fresh from whacking a match-winning cameo for India in the Nidahas Trophy final. But a new captain and some more changes are not something that affects Kuldeep. “I feel fresh faces doesn’t change the willingness to go out and perform. We are in it to win it and the fresh faces mean new friendships and getting to know some other players over the next two months,” he said.
The 11th season of the IPL commences on April 7 with defending champions the Mumbai Indians taking on the Chennai Super Kings at home, with the final also scheduled to take place at the Wankhede Stadium on May 27. Meanwhile, the Kolkata Knight Riders start their campaign against the Royal Challengers Bangalore at home on April 8.
As rightly stated by Kuldeep, a tournament like the IPL is where he can have a go at virtually all big names in the world – and not only Kohli and Dhoni – with dangerous batsmen like AB de Villiers and Brendon McCullum, among others, all assembling for the event. Also, Kuldeep's turners and wrong ones would once again prove to be crucial in a long tournament like the IPL, which gives players multiple opportunities.