India spinner Kuldeep Yadav returned with impressive figures of 4 for 43 in 9.3 overs as the Rohit Sharma-led side defeated Sri Lanka in a low-scoring thriller to qualify for the Asia Cup final. Defending a 213-run total, India rolled over Sri Lanka for 172 thanks to Kuldeep’s four-for and two wickets each from Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja. Sri Lanka youngster Dunith Wellalage, who bagged a five-wicket haul earlier, was stranded on 42 as Kuldeep struck twice in the same over to snatch a win from the jaws of defeat.
Speaking exclusively to Star Sports, Kuldeep shared his perspective on the role of off-spinners in the team.
“I don’t think of myself as an off-spinner; I think of myself as a classic leg-spinner. The only thing is I bowl from the left hand. I have variations and a googly as well. So I don’t think you need to have an off-spinner. If your team’s combination is sitting well, then you don’t need to play 3-4 spinners. If you have two quality spinners, then I think that works,” Kuldeep told Star Sports.
The 28-year-old also shed light on what his game plan is against a left-handed or right-handed batter.
“So I always think about locking the batsman, bowl at the stumps, whether it’s a lefty or righty, to keep him locked and bowl at the stumps. He shouldn’t get an opportunity to free his arms because if he does, it is easy for him to connect his shots. But the target is to bowl at a good length and keep him locked.”
Kuldeep also spoke on how he has changed his bowling style since his comeback from injury, he said “Of course, when I was injured, then our physio said that whatever happens, I should not have a load on my knee. I didn’t know how to do that. Two or three months passed, and I was recovering slowly. I started my run-up more quickly, and I didn’t cut my angle. Then slowly, I started thinking to bowl straight, and it was easier for me. I have become more aggressive, and my rhythm has become better. It didn’t come naturally; it took about 5-6 months. Sometimes in the IPL, I was breaking my rhythm, and I was missing my stepping, so it wasn’t easy.”
Kuldeep opened up about the challenges he faced during his recovery period, the adjustments he made to his approach, and his gameplan when facing both left-handed and right-handed batsmen.
He further added “After 6-7 months, I got my proper rhythm, and now it has become easier to bowl. So we always talk about the length, and the more a spinner bowls, the more experience he gets. So I don’t think that much about getting a wicket now. I think more about how my length should be. I’m focusing more on good length deliveries, whether it is a lefty or a righty. And along with that, the line matters as well. The way the white ball format is, the more room you give the batsman to free his arms, the easier it is for him to bat.”
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