Coming out of a Test series loss against the South Africans, India entered the 6-match ODI series by the winning the 1st ODI at the Kingsmead Cricket Ground in Durban on Thursday. While the Indian batsman (Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane) put on an excellent run-scoring display while chasing, it was the Indian spinners including Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal who bamboozled South Africa batting greats.
India won the 1st ODI by 6 wickets, a win which came to India after 7 years. And team skipper Virat Kohli scored his maiden ODI century in South Africa. But the star of the show was India’s very own ‘chinaman’ bowler Kuldeep Yadav, who took 3 wickets, dismissing JP Duminy, David Miller, and Chris Morris.
At the post-match conference, Kuldeep Yadav spoke about his performance, how the India captain Virat Kohli and former India captain MS Dhoni advised the young bowler, and how his bowling partnership with wrist-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal works to bring out the best out of the duo.
As reported by Cricbuzz, Kuldeep Yadav spoke about how he took the challenge of containing Chris Morris head-on, even when Morris looked in form. He said,
“I took my chance. I felt I could get him (Morris) out. The six didn’t faze me.”
“The wind carried the ball over the last time. I wanted him to play exactly that shot because the leg-side boundary was shorter. I bowled a topspinner. I was looking for a top edge if he went for the shorter boundary at mid-wicket. It was a good ball, but he played a good shot.”
“There was a partnership going on. Faf du Plessis and Morris were playing well. If Morris had batted on for a few more overs, they could have reached 290 or even 300. At that time, we needed a wicket. I took the chance. I always think if I try to bowl to contain I will concede more runs.”
How Virat Kohli influenced Kuldeep Yadav’s mindset
Kuldeep Yadav said that the confident and attacking mindset, which is needed to play such challenging matches, came from Team India captain Virat Kohli. Yadav said,
“The mindset comes from the captain. The way Virat bhai talks, he always tells us one extra wicket is more important than trying to save 10 runs. If your captain tells you that, then you start believing yourself. We then back our strengths.”
Yadav’s excellent chemistry with Yuzvendra Chahal
The 24-year-old ‘chinaman’ bowler said that the chances to take wickets increase when there is a chemistry between him and Yuzvendra Chahal. Kuldeep Yadav gave the credit for the strong understanding between both the spinners to their previous stints in the Indian Premier League franchise Mumbai Indians, and said,
“There is a lot of understanding between us. We have been bowling for five years now together. We were together at Mumbai Indians as well. So there is a mutual understanding that is very good. Even when he bowls first in the match, we talk about how the wicket is behaving and whether it is turning or not, whether it is drifting and what the wind is doing. Communication is very important and it is very good between us, and it gets easier if your partner is bowling to support and back you up.”
Kuldeep Yadav finds South African pitches easy
Kuldeep Yadav said that coming from the grassroots of Indian cricket, he had spent his childhood bowling on cement wickets, which are hard to use to the spinner’s advantage as it offers low turn and bounce. In contrast, Yadav found the South Africa turf wickets easy and exploitable. He said,
“Since childhood I have bowled on cement wickets. Here at least we are playing on turf wickets. Wherever you are playing, whether in India or South Africa, it doesn’t matter to me.”
“In my head, the only thing is taking wickets for the team and this is Chahal’s plan as well when we are bowling as a pair. The more wickets we take, the more pressure on the opposition team and the fewer runs they will score.”
On MS Dhoni talking from behind the stumps
It has been said time and again, that MS Dhoni’s presence behind the stumps is always a plus point for the Indian team, as Dhoni is the mastermind who gives key tips and advices to the Indian bowlers and fielders.
Kuldeep Yadav spoke about the same issue and said that Dhoni helped him to ground his mind when the spinner was confused about which variation to bowl,
“I was confused as to what should I bowl, as it’s my first experience in South Africa. There was a strong breeze which was drifting the bowl so I was confused about which variation I should use.”
“So, that’s why I was asking Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni). He told me to continue bowling as I was, and it is good that he keeps advising us from behind the wickets, because it gets easier with his help.”
Kuldeep Yadav baffles batsmen with a simple action
When Kuldeep Yadav was asked whether he had a complex bowling action, owing to which the South Africa batsmen were finding it tough to play him, he denied and said,
“No, I don’t bowl with an awkward action. I have a simple action and the variations I use are simple as well, like a normal leg-spinner usually has. The only difference is that if you are bowling quality wise, then you can trouble any batsman. If you’re getting drift and the ball is dipping and turning, anyone who is batting will find it tough.”