Kuldeep: Everyone told me to bowl quicker, but no one told me how


Left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav attributes his recent success in white-ball cricket to an increase in the pace of his deliveries and putting a lesser load on his right leg while delivering the ball.
His transformation, especially in ODIs over the last couple of years, has been exemplary and he’s taken it up a notch in 2023. Kuldeep has picked up 35 wickets in 17 innings this year at an average of 16.31 and an economy of 4.68. No other Indian bowler has more wickets in 2023, while overall only Nepal’s Sandeep Lamicchane is ahead with 43 scalps.
“Everyone told me my deliveries required pace but no one told me how to do it,” Kuldeep, who dismissed David Warner and Glenn Maxwell in India’s ODI World Cup opener against Australia, said after the game. “Important aspect on a turner is the speed at which the ball turns. At times there are slow turners, important is to vary pace.

“It wasn’t a slow turner [in Chennai], but I had to increase the pace of my deliveries. For example, Glenn Maxwell didn’t get time and if you saw how Smith got bowled (to Jadeja). So, along with turn, pace on deliveries also become important.”

The turning point in Kuldeep’s career came after he underwent knee surgery in 2021. During the rehab phase, former India team physio Ashish Kaushik advised him to put less pressure on his right leg and the move seems to have done the trick for Kuldeep. He took 2 for 42 in his ten overs against Australia with both wickets coming at a crucial junctures.

“Once I was coming back from injury, it was physio Ashish Kaushik who advised that the load on my right leg should be less,” Kuldeep said. “Post rehab, I implemented that in my training and then in match situations and I felt the difference. It didn’t happen overnight though. It took around six months to get the rhythm back.”

India bowling coach Paras Mhambrey was also pleased with Kuldeep’s rise in the ODl format this year. “The credit should be given to Kuldeep for the fact that he’s worked on it. Sometimes when you have a conversation like that with the bowler, you do get a self-realisation of what are the areas I need to work on,” Mhambrey said. “He’s worked on certain things, made those technical changes and you could see that in his bowling. The speeds have gone up, the lengths and areas have become better and in that sense, there are a lot of big ticks for us.

“The way he’s played, the way he has bowled in the last few years. It’s not just the numbers, it’s also the way you adapt. He offers a different variety to the team.”

While India went with the spin trio of Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin and Kuldeep for their opening fixture of the World Cup, Kuldeep was of the opinion that the combination might well change at other venues.

“Not sure about the entire tournament, but over the years, we have seen you can play with three spinners in Chennai,” Kuldeep said. “If the other team had three quality spinners, it would have been difficult for us as a batting unit as well. I think Maxwell bowled well but he didn’t have support from the other end.”



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