Kuldeep Yadav explains Kohli and Dhoni’s role in his success in South Africa

  • MS Dhoni is the General in captain Virat Kohli’s army, feels Kuldeep Yadav
  • MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli are masters of implementing plans in the middle
  • Dhoni and Kohli’s leadership key to India’s ODI series win in South Africa

India’s recent tour of South Africa was dominated by bowlers across all formats and while the Test series was dominated by fast bowlers on both sides, the six-match ODI series provided a stark contrast where the Indian spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal spun a web around the Proteas and led their team to an unprecedented 5-1 win over the hosts. Yadav had MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli to credit for the win.

Having sustained a finger injury in the final ODI of the series, chinaman Kuldeep Yadav had to sit out the T20I leg of the tour and was also rested for the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka. While he is still around 10 days away from regaining full fitness, the Uttar Pradesh bowler is already thinking about his next big assignment — the IPL. Before joining up with his IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders, Kuldeep sat down for an exclusive chat with CricketNext and shed some light on his success in the Rainbow nation.

Kuldeep was very clear in stating that he can’t thank his stars enough to have two stalwarts in skipper Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni as teammates at such an early stage of his career. The 23-year-old also revealed that while skipper Kohli plans it all — from field settings to the style of attack against each opposition batsman — former skipper Dhoni ensures that the bowlers implement all of it.

ODI win in South Africa was due to MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, says Kuldeep Yadav

“What we have achieved in South Africa has a lot to do with the way Kohli bhai and Dhoni bhai guide us in the middle. While you can all hear Dhoni bhai constantly guiding us on the stump microphone, it is Kohli bhai who actually plans it all. It is a complete work of two individuals who are brilliant when it comes to first planning and then implementing the plans.”

“Credit has been given to us (Kuldeep and Chahal) for taking India home in the limited-overs series, but we couldn’t have been half as effective had it not been for the two senior pros guiding us. You need a skipper who backs you and believes in your ability to shine on the big stage. You think we could have been so successful if Kohli bhai had not given us the freedom to attack? I don’t think so,” Kuldeep told CricketNext.

There have been growing calls for Kuldeep being a permanent inclusion in India’s Test squad. The chinaman bowler feels that his time in whites will certainly come and that there was hardly any room for another spinner in the Test team in South Africa.

“Yes, I would be lying if I say that I didn’t feel disappointed to miss the bus, but then, that is a part of every sportsperson’s journey. You also need to realise that the team already had two master-class spinners in Ashwin bhai and Jaddu (Jadeja) bhai.”

“So, I went to South Africa with a clear mind and looking to make the most of the opportunities that I would get. To be fair, I didn’t think that we (Chahal and him) would get the kind of purchase that we did. I enjoyed bowling on those wickets and I think the numbers speak for themselves. I only looked at expressing myself in the middle,” he stated.

With the South African sojourn now over, India’s next big assignment will be the tour to England this summer. Kuldeep feels that the current Indian side has every tool to excel and make a name for themselves in what has generally been a particularly tough place to tour in recent times.

“Kohli bhai leads by example. His aggression rubs off on all of us and that is why this team has the ‘never-say-die’ attitude. I am confident that we as a team will produce another good performance there. But before that, I am looking forward to bowling against Kohli bhai and Mahi bhai in the IPL,” Kuldeep Yadav signed off with a smile.

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