Kuldeep Yadav in action for India Image: AFP
From being on the fringes of domestic cricket to playing a starring role for the national side, chinaman Kuldeep Yadav has truly come a long way.
The 22-year-old has been in fine form ever since his call-up to the national side for the series against Sri Lanka. After putting the Lankans to the sword, he will now look to be a thorn in the side of the Australians.
While his chance has come under the leadership of skipper Virat Kohli, Kuldeep has not forgotten the impact another captain has had on his career; Gautam Gambhir.
Gambhir was Kuldeep's saving grace back when he was restricted to the bench with the Mumbai Indians. Kuldeep was struggling to make an impression before being picked up by the Kolkata Knight Riders, on the request of Gambhir.
Under the guidance of Gambhir and veteran West Indies spinner Sunil Narine, Kuldeep was able to transform his game and become a force to be reckoned with.
“I shall always be grateful to Gauti bhai (Gambhir) for backing me when I was a nobody. He backed me when no one knew me. It has been a great ride under him and with my KKR teammates. I always wanted to play for India across all formats, but to channelize that desire I needed the guidance of someone like him,” Kuldeep said during an interview with CricketNext.
Kuldeep also hailed Kohli for keeping him calm during his Test debut which came against Australia in Dharamsala earlier this year.
“He kept speaking to me and calming me down. I was desperate to play for the country and often you lose the plot and get overawed by the situation. After all, it was a dream I was realizing. But Virat bhai kept asking me to enjoy the moment and not think too much about the situation. He kept asking me to focus on my strengths and bowl in the right areas. It was a good feeling to have him egg you on from the sidelines,” he went on to add.
Kuldeep will look to impress when India face Australia in the second ODI at the Eden Gardens on September 21. The hosts currently lead the series 1-0.