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#COCExclusive Interview with Kuldeep Yadav: “Yuvi Paji calls me Jadugar”

By Umesh Lakhmani -




Slow left-arm Chinaman bowler, Kuldeep Yadav, claimed his maiden first-class five-for for India Red against India Green and guided his team to victory in the Duleep Trophy match at the Greater Noida Sports Complex Ground. Kuldeep, who took a total of 9 wickets in the game, ripped through the India Green line-up in the final innings. The Greens were bundled out for 277 in their quest to chase down a mammoth score of 497.

Right after the terrific victory, Kuldeep Yadav, has candid chat with Circle Of Cricket in which he talks about his performance, the Pink ball and a lot more.

Q) Your domestic season has started on a great note as you have taken a six-for in the final innings and 9 wickets in total. Tell us more about how it was to play with the Pink ball?

A) Thank you. Feels great to start the domestic season on a high. Actually, there was a lot of excitement in me to bowl with the pink ball. It was certainly a challenge if you compare it with bowling with the red ball. At the same time, it was a bit difficult for the spinners as the ball does not lose its shine easily and gets difficult to grip. But once I got more comfortable with the ball, I could make good use of it and trouble the batsmen.

Q) So, according to you, the pink ball is helping the spinners more or the faster bowlers?

A) It actually depends on the wicket. This wicket did not have enough spin plus the ball remained new for a very long time. Also, since this was a day-night game, there was a lot of dew which makes gripping the ball difficult. We shall get to know with time about how this ball behaves.

Q) Tell us a little more about the newly built stadium – Greater Noida Sports Complex Ground, Greater Noida?

A) It Is a great platform for Ghaziabad Cricket Association (GCA) as they have got to host a big tournament like the Duleep Trophy. We played a Ranji Trophy game last year against Baroda right here. The stadium is beautiful with very good floodlights. I would stay this is one of the best when it comes to hosting pink ball games. It was surprising to see a lot of crowd in the stadium.

Q) Coming to spin bowling, it is always said that the Indian pitches are conducive to spin bowling. Do you think that the wickets this domestic season will also be spin friendly or green tops?

A) A spinner will always wish for a spinning wicket (Laughs). We always love taking more and more wickets. But, a team plays this sport and not just a player so the wicket should be favorable for everyone I feel. Day 1 should help the pacers, Day 2 the batsmen and Day 3-Day 4 spinners. Such wickets help the sport a great deal rather than green tops, rank turners or a batting paradise where a team scores over 700 runs.

Q) You have been a part of the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL. What are the things you have learned from Skipper Gautam Gambhir and the others?

A) Have actually learnt a lot from Gauti bhai as it has been around 3-4 years since I know him. He is a dedicated player who supports all the youngsters in the team. He always told me to keep working hard even when I was not part of the XI so that helps. I have learnt a lot from Jaques Kallis, Wasim Akram, Brad Hogg and Sunil Narine. The team was like a family and everyone helped everyone.

Q) You spend close to two months with the team during the IPL. Who was your best mate or someone who kept the morale of the team high?

A) Brad Hogg was one of the funniest guys in the team. In the Indian players, Manish Pandey and Surya Kumar Yadav have been my good mates. Chris Lynn also is a close friend. The team gelled really well together.

Q) You are one of the few Chinaman bowlers India has ever had, who is your spin idol?

A) I have followed Australian Legend Shane Warne all my life. Even now I keep watching videos of Shane Warne’s bowling in various situations on my phone. I want to be like as he has the idea of taking wickets. It was a dream come true for me when I met him in 2008 during the IPL. He gave me a few tips too and I hope I meet his again in the near future.

Q) You have always considered Suresh Raina, who is also your Ranji teammate (UP), to be your big brother and an inspiration. Tell us about him?

A) Raina bhai always stays in touch with me and considers me to be his small brother. Whenever I am in any problem or I need any advice, I call him up directly. He called me when I was selected for Duleep Trophy and told me that I am doing well. It really makes you feel motivated when such a big player tells you positive stuff. Even though he was in the opposition team in this match, he kept talking to me in general and also told me not to get him out while he’s facing my bowling (Laughs).

Q) Yuvraj Singh was the Captain of India Red. How has his presence in the dressing helped you?

A) Have known Yuvi Paji since the past two years and we all know how amazing he is. He always tells me, “Tum mera Jadugar hai” (You are my magician), and that really makes me happy. Whenever he gave me the ball, he expected wickets out of me. I am lucky to be in his team as he is such a big player for the country. Incidentally, my first wicket in first-class cricket was his.


Kuldeep Yadav with team Circle Of Cricket