Chattogram, Dec 16 (PTI): He was initially “nervous” but once Kuldeep Yadav started to make the red ball rip, it didn’t seem like as if he hadn’t played Test cricket for nearly two years.
Kuldeep, the left-arm wrist spinner, played a major role in India’s dominance in the ongoing opening Test against Bangladesh as he recorded a career-best 5 for 40 to deflate the hosts for a lowly 150 in their first essay.
Having set an improbable target of 513, Kuldeep is confident that he along with Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel will be able to give his team a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
“Kahne ke liye toh do saal hain par mujhe kabhi feel hi nahi huwa (It might be nearly two years (22 months) but I never felt it that way,” a smiling and seemingly content Kuldeep told mediapersons after his third five-wicket haul in Test cricket on Friday.
Kuldeep had a knee surgery in 2021 just before the second phase of IPL in the UAE and was out for a considerable period of time before making a comeback.
“If I wouldn’t have played any cricket post injury, then its a struggle. But for last one year, I have been continuously playing white-ball cricket and also played red-ball series against New Zealand (A series).
“I bowled long spells in that series. If you are with the team (national), then you don’t feel that pressure,” said the 28-year-old Kanpur man, who now has 31 wickets in his 8th Test.
While Kuldeep has played more white-ball cricket in past 8-10 months, switching the format has never been a problem for him as wrist spin doesn’t depend on the surface a lot.
“Due to my bowling style, I don’t have switch-over problems. Yes, when you are bowling in Tests, you need more control and you have to really earn your wicket as batters have long time to get set and measure you up,” said Kuldeep.
“The field positions change, formations are different and bowling one areas consistently for long periods is another challenge.”
As far as the current Test match is concerned, Kuldeep assessed that the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium track is a batting belter, having himself batted on the wicket for close to 20 overs during the Indian first innings.
“I believe the pitch is perfect to bat on. It was really good to bat on even against spinners. Yes some balls are keeping low and the odd ball turning. Me and Ash bhai (R Ashwin) were initially looking at first innings score of 360 but as time passed, batting became easier so we looked at 400-run total.”
Bowling in tandem with Ashwin and Axar Patel has been an “enjoyable experience” for Kuldeep as there is always relentless pressure from both ends which results in breakthroughs at regular interval.
About the position of the match, Kuldeep feels that with 180 overs left across two days, Indian team has enough time to wrap it up.
“We are expecting more turn off the surface in the second innings compared to first innings.”