India head coach Ravi Shastri thinks Kuldeep Yadav has become the Test team's number one spinner in overseas conditions but the left-arm bowler says he remains a work in progress in the format he loves and is more settled in white-ball cricket.
The 24-year-old went back to the drawing board after being dropped during the Test series in England. He came back stronger with stellar performances in the home series against the West Indies before picking up a five-wicket haul in the only game he played in the historic away series against Australia.
"If you're playing with the white ball regularly, it becomes easy to adjust. I'm more settled in white-ball cricket, I never feel any pressure. For any spinner, in ODIs, there's a limited quota, so you need to attack in that way. You need to challenge yourself every time to perform for the team," Kuldeep told 'ESPNCricinfo' when asked if he feels more confident in the shorter formats.
Looking back at the 12 months that went by, the Kanpur-based cricketer now knows how tough it is to switch formats.
"It's very difficult to switch from white-ball cricket to red-ball cricket. If you keep playing red-ball cricket, it's easy to adjust as a spinner, but I'm regularly playing with the white ball, so when I got the chance (at Lord's where he went wicket-less), I wasn't prepared enough to tackle everything.
"For me, red-ball cricket is the biggest challenge. Everyone loves Test cricket and I'm no different... I wasn't used to bowling with the Dukes ball (in England), so when I returned, I worked really hard with my coach (Kapil Pandey)."
Kuldeep made instant impact in Australia by taking five wickets in Sydney, where he played the first match of a high-pressure series that India won 2-1.
"It felt like I was making my debut. I didn't want to make the mistakes I made at Lord's. I planned. Like, Usman Khawaja is a good player through the off side, so I planned to bowl a few wrong'uns to him," he recalled.
Interactions with spin great Shane Warne in Australia also helped.
"We met every morning of the Test matches. Before the Tests, I was bowling well, so I told him I'm in good rhythm, getting turn and getting everything I wanted to get out of my bowling. He looked at my action and spoke to me about handling different situations, how to bowl when you're under pressure.
Asked on what specific changes Warne suggested, Kuldeep said: "He pointed to my knees bending at the time of release, and body alignment. He felt if it is straight, I'd be able to use my core better and be able to flight the ball more.
"He also spoke to me about the kind of fields you need to set in Australia. The lengths you need to vary for your stock ball, googly and flipper. I was like, "Wow, this man is like an encyclopedia. He demonstrated by bowling left-handed. It has been great to have his support," said Kuldeep.
The tweaker has taken 24 wickets in six Tests at 24.12. In 39 ODIs, he has picked up 77 wickets at 20.64 and 35 scalps in 18 T20 Internationals at 12.97.