Kuldeep Yadav seemed to have got back to his very best in the first ODI against Sri Lanka. The Chinaman bowler picked up a couple of wickets in the same over, dismissing well-set batsmen M Bhanuka and B Rajapaksa. He also looked to be in control of his bowling and deceived batsmen with his pace and line.
Kuldeep has credited head coach Rahul Dravid for his comeback against Sri Lanka and said that Dravid backed him and motivated him tremendously. He was asked by Dravid to enjoy the game instead of focusing on the pressure.
“Pressure and nervousness are always there when you play. I was playing after a long time. Initially, there were a lot of conversations, Rahul sir backed and motivated me a lot. He talked about enjoying the game, believing in the process that we worked on in the last fifteen days without worrying about the result. I am very happy about the good performance,” Yadav said in the post-match press conference.
Along with the rest of the bowling unit, Kuldeep Yadav helped restrict Sri Lanka to a total of 262 for 9 inside 50 overs. The run-chase aided and abetted by Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, and Ishan Kishan was rather straightforward and comfortable.
Of the 11 players that started for Team India against Sri Lanka in the first match, Kuldeep Yadav was the only one who didn’t feature in a single match of IPL 2021 before it came to a halt. Despite not playing regularly, Kuldeep has been in bio-bubbles for a long time and he also opened up about the mental strains of living in a bio-secure bubble which inadvertently creates doubt. All he could do, he said, was wait for his opportunity.
“It’s difficult to stay in the bubble for a long time but when you are not playing, a lot of doubts creep into your mind. Perhaps, there are a lot of people who want to help you, talk to you, but the more you talk the more doubts are created. But it’s a team sport, sometimes you get the chance, sometimes you don’t. You should just wait for that opportunity,” said Kuldeep Yadav.
He was also grateful to the wonderful and supportive environment in the group that kept him going. Team members back each other to perform and it pays off on the field, said Kuldeep.
“We are in the bubble for the past one month and we’re in 14-day quarantine in Mumbai earlier, then the series got rescheduled. I am very lucky that the team environment is so good that it isn’t affecting much because team members are backing each other and hopefully we’ll perform well in the coming games and will go back a happy side.”