ICC World Cup 2019: Virat Kohli gives us confidence, MS Dhoni gives us freedom, says Kuldeep Yadav
- Along with fellow wrist-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep will make his World Cup debut in England
- Kuldeep is confident that he and Chahal will continue to provide India crucial breakthroughs in the middle overs
- India begin their campaign against South Africa on June 5 in Southampton
NEW DELHI: He may not have had an impressive outing in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) but India’s chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav is confident that his attacking spin partner Yuzvendra Chahal and he can deliver the goods and do the job for captain Virat Kohli at the upcoming ICC World Cup. India will kick off their World Cup campaign on June 5 against South Africa at The Rose Bowl in Southampton.
“We (Chahal and I) understand and back each other on the field. We have a great bond on and off the field. In ODIs, the middle overs are very crucial, so we try to take as many wickets in the middle overs and control the flow of runs for our team. That’s what Chahal and I have been doing and will continue to do in the World Cup,” Kuldeep told Timesofindia.com in an exclusive interview.
Since Chahal and Kuldeep’s arrival on the international arena in 2016 and 2017 respectively, the two wrist-spinners have made a tremendous contribution to the Indian team in limited-overs cricket.
Kuldeep has 87 wickets under his belt in 44 ODIs, averaging 21.74, while Chahal has played 41 ODIs and claimed 72 wickets at an average of 24.61.
The 2019 World Cup edition will be Kuldeep and Chahal’s maiden World Cup appearance.
“Sometimes we (Chahal and I) fail, but we learn and move on. The way we both are playing, I am sure we together can do the job for India at the World Cup,” a confident Kuldeep said.
On being asked about India’s title chances, Kuldeep said: “Definitely, the way the team is performing under Kohli, I am sure we will win the title in England.”
“We have been playing a lot of cricket. I played the IPL and wanted to remain physically and mentally fit for the World Cup. I have practiced hard and worked on my variations. I am excited and want to do well for India at the World Cup,” he said.
Kuldeep was also part of the India’s squad that toured England in 2018.
The chinaman bowler took nine wickets, including a six-wicket haul, in three ODIs he played against England in England. He was, in fact, the highest wicket-taker in the three-match series.
He also claimed five wickets in the two T20Is he played against the Three Lions.
Kuldeep’s numbers (India’s tour of England in 2018)
ODIs: Matches: 3 | Wickets: 9 | Best: 6/25
T20Is: Matches: 2 | Wickets: 5 | Best: 5/24
When asked about the 2011 World Cup-winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his role in India’s World Cup campaign, Kuldeep smiled and said ‘ Mahi bhai is a team man’.
“I would say when in doubt, reach out to Dhoni. He has a solution for every problem. Everyone looks up to him (Dhoni),” Kuldeep said.
Former India skipper Dhoni is often seen advising and guiding youngsters on the field. And for Kuldeep, Dhoni’s tips and even stern word, from behind the stumps, have helped him take his cricketing career to a different level.
“When I bowl, I find it difficult to set the field sometimes. I look at Mahi bhai and he understands immediately that I need his help. He comes up to me and helps me. It’s not just me, he helps every bowler in the team,” Kuldeep said.
“ Mahi bhai understands a batsman’s body language quickly and then he tells us the areas where we should bowl to him. And it often works in our favour,” he said.
Kuldeep signed off by saying, “Kohli and Dhoni are the backbone of our team. Dhoni gives us freedom and Kohli boosts our confidence.”