Dubai: Kuldeep Yadav, the chinaman weapon of Kolkata Knight Riders who may have a big role to play on the UAE wickets in the IPL this seasons, feels they can win their third title ‘‘sooner or later’’ if the team can get their combination right.
According to him, KKR had their chances in both last two years. “I had a strong feeling last year that we would win. Even in 2018, we were playing great cricket and I was sure we would win the title,” Kuldeep said in an interview with the KKR website.
“I remember the match we lost against Sunrisers Hyderabad (in qualifier 2). I was out of the ground because my spell was over. They were on 125 and I thought they would not go beyond 145. But Rashid Khan came into the middle and changed the game.
“We were just one step away from entering the final. It was a heart-breaking moment when we lost the match,” he added.
When Yadav got his Test cap against Australia at Dharasala in 2017, he was being hailed as India’s new mystery bowler in the horizon. Looing back on the occasion with a sense of wonder, he recalled: “It was an honour! I was on the bench for three matches but kept preparing myself with Anil sir (Kumble), our then coach. He backed me a lot. He exactly knew the kind of mindset young spinners have. I remember, a day before the debut, we were having lunch together. He told me, you are playing tomorrow and I want 5 wickets from you. I was a little intimidated but I confidently said that I would definitely take,” he said.
“I got my cap and was feeling blank,” said Yadav, who went on to take four wickets in his first Test.
“I was quite nervous but felt comfortable the moment all team members joined in. It is a dream for all young cricketers to play Test cricket and my dream was coming true. I was pretty emotional. I remember I was fielding at deep square leg, and I was still nervous. But then I decided to just react normally like any other Ranji game,” he added.
All of Kuldeep’s four wickets came in the first innings against Australia.
The spinner managed to take the wickets of David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Handscomb, and Pat Cummins in the first innings of the fourth Test.
India managed to win that particular Test, and as a result, the side won the four-match series 2-1.
“When I came to bowl, Steve Smith hit a boundary off a googly in my second over and I realised the difference between international and state-level cricket. Following lunch, I just tried to be relaxed and give my best. I started strategizing my game and bowled a few slower ones to David Warner and then mixed it up with a flipper, feeling it might clean him up or trap him LBW. He played the cut straight to the slip,” Kuldeep said.
“That was my first wicket. It was one of the happiest moments of my life and I got really emotional. My confidence rose and I got Handscomb and Maxwell too. Once the day got over, I spoke to Sachin sir and he told me a lot of things about how to approach the game. I was flooded with messages and calls. When I was lying on my bed at night and I started reflecting to realise how much I had to struggle to reach that point. I had tears of joy at that moment,” he added.