‘If we strike a good combination, we can win this IPL’: Kuldeep

Kolkata: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav believes that if his team is able to strike the right combination, they can surely lift its third IPL trophy this season.

“If we can strike a good combination, we can certainly win it this year. After all, it’s cricket, we will win sooner or later,” Kuldeep said in an interview on

The chinaman bowler said, “I had a strong feeling last year that we would win. Even in 2018, we were playing great cricket and I was sure we would win the title. I remember the match we lost against Sunrisers Hyderabad (in qualifier 2). I was out of the ground because my spell was over. They were on 125 and I thought they would not go beyond 145. But Rashid Khan came into the middle and changed the game. We were just one step away from entering the final. It was a heart-breaking moment when we lost the match.”

When asked about the difference between leg spin and chinaman bowling, Kuldeep said, “If you have noticed, I mostly practice against right-handed batsmen. Because for me it is easy to bowl to a left-hand batsman. When a right-handed batsman bats, my variations are mostly wrong’un, top spin, flipper or googly. If you are playing T20, slogging leg spin gets really easy. If it’s a left-handed batsman, a leg-spinner mostly uses googly and not regular leg spin. I guess the variations I spoke about work wonderfully well in T20 cricket, but if you consider international or domestic cricket, leg spin is still very effective.”

“When I went for a few trials in my childhood in Kanpur. I often used to wonder why chinaman bowling is so different that no one even tries! There were over 250 aspirants and only 40-50 players would be picked for the camp. Someone at the trials told me to bowl left-arm finger spin instead of chinaman and I followed that,” he said
“ My coach was noticing everything and when I went up to him, he asked, “Why didn’t you bowl?”. I was baffled. He told me that I didn’t bowl the way I was supposed to. He could see the writing on the wall that I would not be selected. That came out true! I was upset but he started showing me Shane Warne videos and asked me to follow his bowling style. I have troubled my coach a lot but even now I correct my bowling looking at Warne’s videos. It was only this time when I realised how difficult and unique chinaman bowling was. Brad Hogg (former KKR player) was one of the players back then whom I used to watch. But I always felt, if I could spin like Warne, that would create the difference,” Kuldeep said.

While talking about ODIs, you got a hat-trick at Eden Gardens, Kuldeep said, “I don’t think you can ever take a hat-trick in a planned way. Honestly, I didn’t dream of taking a hat-trick. Eden had become my home ground by this time. I remember I bowled the first few overs and I wasn’t comfortable bowling in half t-shirts. So, I went back to the dressing room and changed into my full-sleeve jersey. I spoke to Virat bhai and asked him if I could
bowl from the other end. He said once Chahal’s spell was over, I could bowl from that end.

I struck a very good rhythm and started bowling in the spot. “I got my first wicket of Matthew Wade and then in the next ball I plucked Ashton Agar. For the third ball, I asked Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni) what to bowl. When you have so many variations, you get confused. He just let me do whatever I felt was right but suggested that
I kept it to the stumps. I kept a slip and gully in place. Luckily I bowled a good ball and got the edge. Getting a hat-trick at Eden Garden, that too in the first year of international cricket, is a big thing and this was one of the biggest moments of my life,” he said.

“For the second hat-trick, you might not believe me, but I had told my mom that day that I would take a hat-trick. A lot of times, what I said turned out true. I guess it was just a random moment when we were batting against the Windies that I just realised I would take a hat-trick. Things panned out just the way I had planned,” Kuldeep added.

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