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After spending a considerable amount of time on the Kolkata Knight Riders bench, Kuldeep Yadav made his IPL debut in the ongoing 2016 season and has impressed the seniors of the game. While KKR lost to the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator, the young spinner claimed three for 35, including the wicket of David Warner. His performance was lauded by none other than Yuvraj Singh, who was part of the opposition camp.
Speaking about his season, in which he claimed six wickets from three games, young Kuldeep said, “It ended on a good performance personally but not a good result for the team unfortunately. It feels good when Yuvi bhai (Yuvraj Singh) appreciates you. He knows me for a long time and it is a big thing for me that a cricket legend talks to me so affectionately and acknowledges me. That really feels good.” Asked about his plan for David Warner, he said, “I was planning for him. I have seen the Delhi wicket; it was holding and keeping low. So I was trying to give him a single or two (and contain boundaries), mixing the pace and variation.”
The lad from Uttar Pradesh has been performing consistently in the domestic circuit. Asked about his form in domestic cricket and carrying it into the IPL, he said, “It has been very good. I have been working very hard since the domestic season. I have been working very hard with Adrian (Le Roux – KKR Trainer) and also on my bowling with Brad Hogg and some of the senior players. And if you can perform like this, you feel good.”
“They keep telling me about how to plan for various batsmen. During net sessions, they also keep telling me how to bowl to an attacking batsman or a defensive batsman. So that really helped me a lot,” he added. Asked to elaborate on his plans for the different batsmen he countered, he replied, “It depends (differs) upon who is batting. It is different when David Warner is batting and when Yuvraj Singh is batting. I have a plan for Warner also. I don’t want to share it though.”
Speaking about his trade, the bowler who also bowls the chinaman variety, said, “It is a very different art and chinaman is not the one that you can bowl regularly.”
Talking about the consistency of his performance he said, “I think it is hard work. I have been with this franchise for three years and I had played only three games in three years. So I was working very hard off the field also. I have been working on all aspects of the game and fitness. And it has definitely paid off.”
Three days after Sunrisers Hyderabad had lost to the Kolkata Knight Riders in the penultimate league match of VIVO IPL 2016, they were up against the same opponent once again. This time in the Eliminator at the Feroz Shah Kotla Ground in Delhi. Saddled with the task of assisting Yuvraj Singh in setting the opposition a target, Deepak Hooda played a 13-ball cameo; he scored 21, studded with two sixes, after coming to the crease at 71 for three.
The youngster, who has been making waves in the domestic circuit, played a timely knock in a crunch situation. He took on the likes of Sunil Narine and Jason Holder to help up the ante as SRH needed to add quick runs on the board. Speaking to iplt20.com, Hooda, who had also played a similar role in chase against Kings XI Punjab during the league phase, credited Yuvraj Singh for his guidance, and Tom Moody and mentor VVS Laxman for their inputs, which has helped him take his game a notch higher.
You have been playing vital cameos like the one you did in the Eliminator. How have you been practicing for these?
Whatever practice I had to do I had done before the IPL (started). However, here in this tournament one gets (to) face quality bowlers and also quality practice sessions. Although I have not scored as many runs as I would have liked, my confidence level is good. I am able to connect the ball well and the way the support staff is supporting me has helped me bat confidently.
What was Yuvraj Singh’s advise to you when you came in to bat today?
He told me that we will have to take the game as far as we can. We will take fewer risks initially in the first two-three overs and after that once we are set, then we will be able to hit the ball better. He handled me really well and guided me.
How much did you feel the pressure of playing in an eliminator and what were you telling yourself?
It was there at the back of the mind that we had lost to back-to-back matches and that we will (have) to win. We were looking to get around 170-180 runs. The wicket was good to bat on; it was one of best. It was a little disappointing not to have got there, but we backed each other and played as a team. We have had a good bowling attack this season and the fielders backed the bowlers well too. What was your plan for tackling Kuldeep Yadav and Sunil Narine who have been bowling well?
They were bowling well but I have never had a problem against spin. Also I have been playing with Kuldeep for quite a few years now. I have played with him since the Under-19 days; I have played junior cricket with him. Yes, Narine is a big (stature) bowler in the limited overs format but then he is going to bowl a ball only and I have to play what he bowls. That’s it. That was what I was thinking.
How have you been preparing to face the international quality bowlers you come up against in the IPL?
The IPL is almost an international league and here you have to face all kinds of bowlers. In the domestic circuit it’s not the same kind of attack. Here in the nets you get to face quality bowlers who have also been representing their respective national teams as well. Facing these bowlers also helps build the confidence of all batsmen.
Have you had to adapt and adjust your batting for the IPL?
Not really, but your game does get polished (better) because of the practice sessions and the one-on-one talks with the coaches. What specific tips have you received from the likes of Moody, VVS Laxman and Yuvraj Singh?
Yuvi paa helps me a lot with my cricket; he keeps telling me different things in the nets as well. And to be honest VVS sir and Tom sir (Moody) have motivated and backed me a lot. And if such big players and former players are backing you it is a big motivator to go out there and perform.