Columbo, Sep 12: After bamboozling batters by turning the ball both ways to pick fifer against Pakistan in Asia Cup 2023, India's left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav attributes his sustained success in ODIs to the refinements he made to his bowling action and his adoption of an aggressive rhythm.
After picking up a 5-25 against Pakistan that helped India thrash archrivals by a massive 228 runs in a Asia Cup Super Four match at the R Premadasa Stadium here on Monday, Kuldeep has emerged as India's top wicket-taker in men's ODIs this year, securing 27 wickets in 14 matches.
"It's been over one and a half years since I had surgery. The run-up has become straighter. The rhythm has become aggressive. The approach is nice. Maybe my hand used to fall over but that is well in control and faces the batter more.
"At the same time, I did not lose my spin and drift, and my pace increased - all of which helped me. If a legspinner lands the ball on a good length, there are more chances of him picking up a wicket. If you are a legspinner, you tend to bowl a lot of loose balls but if you become consistent, you can succeed," Kuldeep was quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
Looking back, the knee injury he suffered in September 2021 turned out to be a hidden blessing for Kuldeep. It led to his release from the KKR, and during his stay at the NCA, he came to the realization that he needed to make certain adjustments in his bowling.
"After my surgery, I was out of the game for about five months. There were a lot of people who suggested a lot of things, but I did not want to lose my zip, nip or drift. After my three-month rehab post-surgery, my physio - Ashish Koushik at the NCA - suggested that I must do something to my action to reduce load on my knee.
"I worked on making my rhythm faster, bowled it in a practice game in Kanpur and found that the batsmen found it difficult to face. Then I returned to the Indian team for the tour of the West Indies but couldn't find my rhythm. Even in the IPL, my rhythm was breaking. It took about six to seven months for the new action to work."
Kuldeep's dedication and relentless perseverance paid off at a crucial juncture, precisely when India required his performance the most in the buildup to a home World Cup, starting next month.
"I am very happy at the moment," he beamed. "One and a half years have been amazing for me. I have been bowling well. I don't think too much about the playing XI, I am just enjoying my bowling.
"Every day, every morning when I wake up, I only think about 'okay, whenever I will get the opportunity, I will stick to what I have got'. I have been working on my length throughout the IPL and the previous series because for any spinner, it matters the most. I am just loving it at the moment," he said
The 28-year-old further said he will cherish his five-wicket haul against Pakistan for a long time. "When I retire, I will always remember that I picked up five wickets against Pakistan. It is a big deal because they are a team that plays spin well. If you do well against a side that plays spin well in the subcontinent, it motivates you." (IANS)