A few years back, Kuldeep Yadav faced criticism in white ball cricket. The issue? His deliveries lacked the necessary pace and zip to trouble batsmen. Interestingly, amidst all the criticism, no one offered him a solution.
Even when he suffered a severe knee injury during the COVID-19-affected IPL in the UAE in 2020, there was no guidance on how to increase his delivery speed. However, in the past 18 months, Kuldeep has transformed into India’s most reliable ODI bowler, and when asked about the secret to his success, he responded with a touch of humor, “Everyone told me my deliveries required pace but no one told me how to do it.”
Kuldeep’s adjustment to his bowling action was largely self-taught, but he did receive a valuable tip from former Team India physio Ashish Kaushik during his post-knee surgery rehabilitation.
Kaushik advised him to reduce the load on his right leg, and Kuldeep incorporated this into his training and match situations. It took approximately six months for him to regain his rhythm.
Regarding the playing conditions in the Chepauk stadium, where the track offered turn, Kuldeep emphasized the importance of varying the pace of deliveries on such surfaces rather than relying solely on spin. He explained that the speed at which the ball turns is crucial on turning tracks.
When asked if the pitch on that particular day was a slow turner, Kuldeep believed otherwise but stressed the need to increase the pace of deliveries, citing examples of how Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith were dismissed.
Regarding the strategy of playing three spinners in the tournament, Kuldeep wasn’t entirely sure but acknowledged that Chennai has historically favored such a setup. He noted that it could be challenging for batting units to face three quality spinners, emphasizing the importance of hitting the stumps in ODIs. In Tests, he mentioned that it’s acceptable to bowl a bit wider.
In summary, Kuldeep Yadav faced criticism about the lack of pace in his deliveries but successfully worked on increasing his delivery speed. His journey involved self-improvement, rehabilitation guidance, and adapting to varying pitch conditions, all of which contributed to his success as India’s consistent ODI bowler in recent times.