Kuldeep Yadav's rise to fame as one of the most skillful spinners of the generation and the subsequent fall has been one of the most dramatic cricketing stories in the last couple of years, with the left-arm wrist-spinner struggling for game-time with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) as well as the Indian team. After featuring in all three matches against Australia in January 2020, the Uttar Pradesh spinner conceded 84, 57, 68 and 84 in his next four ODI assignments, spread over three series. India decided to go with a four-man pace attack in the third ODI against England, dropping Kuldeep Yadav, which Virat Kohli described as a tactical decision.
On being asked about his torrid run of form, Kuldeep stated that the lack of game time has been an issue for him as he found it difficult to judge the right lengths. "If you're playing regularly, you get an idea about the length and can quickly identify what length to bowl," Yadav told Mid Day.
"But when you're playing with breaks, the length may sometimes be a little up or short. If I work hard on my lengths, it will help me bowl better.
"The first game was very important as I was playing after a long time. I didn't get into a good rhythm in that match. Had I been playing regularly, rhythm would not have been an issue. I made a good comeback after the first over (conceding 13 runs).
"In the second game, I bowled better. It's just that there was no assistance for spin on the pitch, so I didn't get the desired results. On flat pitches, length is crucial. It was difficult for spinners in the ODIs, all went for runs."
Since England batsmen, especially Joe Root, played him comfortably in the 2018 ODI series between two nations, Kuldeep has not been in the best of the form that once made him the darling of the masses in late 2017. Moeen Ali's Kolkata onslaught further came as a huge blow to his confidence but Kuldeep doesn't buy into the idea that batsmen figured him out. "I don't pay attention to all this talk. It's important that I keep improving my skills and be as accurate as possible. If you're playing regularly, batsmen tend to read you. If they are getting comfortable playing me, then my job as a bowler is to keep improving. And that's why I look to add or change a few things every time," the spinner said
"Despite all the analysis, batsmen still find ways to score runs and bowlers still find different methods to take wickets. There are other factors, too, like form, rhythm and confidence. If [your] confidence is high, you'll start taking wickets and people will again start talking good things about you."
My job is to be ready whenever the opportunity arises. The team management has always communicated to me the reason why I wasn't getting a place in the XI. They have always backed me and I am not at all worried. I keep working hard in training sessions and do whatever the team needs," he concluded.