There was lot of competition for the spinners’ slots in the lead-up to the World Cup. But it was the left-arm wrist- spinner’s recent performances that made the selectors go for him ahead of Yuzvendra Chahal. After a dip in form which led to his ouster from the Indian team in 2021, a few months of hard work — straightening the run-up, accelerating the pace and tweaks in his bowling — have worked like magic for the Kanpur man.
“Many people had told me that my deliveries needed more pace, but no one told me how to do it,” said Kuldeep.
In the 2021 IPL in the UAE, Kuldeep twisted his right knee and had to go under the knife. That moment proved to be a blessing in disguise as former physio Ashish Kaushik gave him valuable advice.
“When I was recovering from injury, it was former physio Ashish who advised that ‘when you come back try to take less load on the right foot’. After I completed the rehab, I tried to implement that in my training and I could see the results slowly. It took some time to get the rhythm. It didn’t happen overnight; it took me five to six months to perfect it,” Kuldeep said. Attacking the stumps more in white-ball cricket helped Kuldeep.
“In white-ball formats, you need to keep hitting the stumps, that’s more important for any spinner. When you play Tests, it’s okay to bowl a bit wide, but here there are restrictions on the field positions. You have to keep it in the stumps because it increases the chances to get wickets. That’s exactly what I was trying to do on Sunday,” he added.
The delivery which removed dangerman Glenn Maxwell was bowled at a faster pace than his usual and the Aussie allrounder couldn’t deal with it.
“Chepauk pitch wasn’t a slow turner, but I had to increase the pace of my deliveries so that the batters don’t get the extra time. That’s how I got Maxwell. He didn’t get the time to react. Along with the turn, pace on the deliveries also becomes important,” explained Kuldeep.
India’s formidable spin trio of Kuldeep, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja worked in tandem to claim six wickets as India bowled out Australia for 199.
Kuldeep said the three bond extremely well.
“I have been with the Test team for the past six years. And obviously, Jaddu and Ashwin are there too. So I have spent a lot of time with them and we have a good understanding. We even talk and discuss a lot on the field,” said Kuldeep.