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South African Pitches Are Suiting Spinners In Ongoing Tour, Says Kuldeep Yadav After Picking Fifer

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Johannesburg, Dec 15 (PTI) Surprised by the spin on offer during the third T20I at The Wanderers here, Kuldeep Yadav said the South African wickets, generally known for their pace and bounce, are also suiting spinners in the ongoing tour.

Kuldeep had a perfect 29th birthday on Thursday as he became only the second Indian bowler to pick up two five-wicket hauls in T20Is after Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He became the first Indian spinner to reach the landmark.

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“It turned out to be a special day. I have never thought about taking five wickets. I just wanted the team to win which is more important,” Kuldeep said.

“I was concerned about my bowling because I was playing after sometime, so wanted to get my rhythm. It was perfect today. The ball was coming out well from the hand and the conditions too suited the spinners a bit.”

Kuldeep returned with figures of 5/17 from 2.5 overs as India beat South Africa by 106 runs to help India finish the three-match T20 series tied at 1-1.

“To be very honest, the wickets are very good for the spinners. The good thing about these wickets are that the ball comes very quickly after pitching. So sometimes, you have to vary your variations and if you get it right then it is very difficult to pick,” he added.

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Kuldeep last played in South Africa in 2018 but a knee injury in 2021, for which he underwent surgery, halted his career for 6-7 months.

However, he successfully returned back to the field with a new technique.

“In 2018, I was very new and after that, couple of years I struggled with my injury and post surgery I came back and made a few changes in my bowling, especially in my run-up. Trying to be more aggressive and just trying to bowl much straighter and focussing on length,” Kuldeep said.

Just like his teammates, it took some time for Kuldeep to overcome the loss in the ODI World Cup final to Australia.

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“Starting was really difficult. First 7 to 10 days were really tough. Whenever I was waking up, the thought of losing the World Cup final was haunting me. But life changes and moves on. I got an opportunity to play in South Africa, I last played here in 2018 so I knew the conditions well,” he said.

“In cricket what you want never happens and you have to learn from them and implement those in future matches.”

Captain Suryakumar Yadav’s fiery 56-ball 100 laid the platform for India’s 201 for 7 in the third T20I, which the Proteas failed to chase down after being dismissed for 95 in 13.5 overs.

“Surya bhai batted brilliantly. The way he was batting was great to watch because the pitch was not that easy for batting. It was really a treat to watch him bat,” Kuldeep said.

The tour will now shift to three-match ODI series starting Sunday in Johannesburg.

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