After cementing his position as India regular in the limited-overs squad, Kuldeep Yadav is now putting in the hard yards to establish his reputation as a classic spinner instead of a mystery one. The 23-year old is currently playing in the eleventh edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) for his franchise - Kolkata Knight Riders and has become a vital cog for the team.
Speaking to India TV in an exclusive chat, the young spin sensation from Kanpur revealed his ambitions and his future goals, he said " I'm right now focussing on my basic skills and constantly looking to improve them. In future, I see myself as a classic spinner rather than being called as a 'mystery spinner'.
On being asked about any new variations he's looking to add in his arsenal, Kuldeep gave an instant reply, he said: "I'm not working on any new variations at the moment. I don't think I will ever try to bowl a carrom ball or any other new delivery."
"I'm more used to making small changes in my wrist position and pace to bamboozle the batsmen."
The strength of two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders are their spin bowling unit which boasts off names like Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep himself. The young chinaman bowler feels his job becomes relatively easier when he's bowling alongside the likes of Narine and Chawla. He says, "PC and Narine are proven campaigners and are easily the best spinners in this format. It's easy for me to bowl along with them as they took away the pressure off me."
"The way they bowl in powerplays is just brilliant. However, I want our fast bowlers to also contribute to the team's cause so that we become a solid bowling unit," Kuldeep added.
The left-arm spinner started his IPL career with Shah Rukh Khan-owned franchise - KKR in 2016. Since then, Kuldeep has gone on to create a very close bond with the franchise. Speaking about his relationship with KKR and the camaraderie he shares with the teammates, he says, "My role has changed with KKR and I'm more of seen as a senior player. Now, I have more responsibilities on my shoulders. It feels good to be associated with a single team right from the start of your career, you become a part of the family which helps you to grow as a player."
On being quizzed about KKR's chances of making it to the playoffs in the ongoing season of IPL, Kuldeep said: "The upcoming matches are important for us as we are still in top four in the points table. To qualify for the playoffs, we need to perform better as a team and improve in all the departments."
Kuldeep who has picked 6 wickets in seven games so far in IPL 2018 has made a comeback to competitive cricket after an injury lay-off of almost two months. "The season so far has been okay-okay for me as I've made a comeback after an injury. I'm playing cricket after a gap of two months. The rhythm is back in my bowling and I'm looking forward to improving it with every game."
Kuldeep also spoke about playing under Dinesh Karthik's captaincy who has taken over the reigns of KKR from former skipper Gautam Gambhir. Speaking about his new captain, he says, "I share a very good rapport and understanding with Karthik as he allows me to set my own field. We have played together for India and that helps. As a wicketkeeper-captain, Karthik manages the team brilliantly and keeps faith in his slow ball bowlers."
"He doesn't fear to bowl us in the powerplay which is a very good sign" the Chinaman signed off.