It has been over a year since Kuldeep Yadav has played Test cricket. The chinaman did play in the limited-over series Down Under but never found himself a place in the Test series that followed with likes of R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar getting nod ahead of him.
The 26-year-old leg spinner is probably going through the toughest phase of his career as Kuldeep failed to shine in the last two Indian Premier League seasons as well while briefly losing his spot in the Indian team. It wasn't long ago that Kuldeep and Yuzvendra Chahal combined to terrorise batsmen in the limited over format but it seems off late the left-handed wrist spinner was found out by opponent batsmen.
In an interview with ESPN Cricinfo, Kuldeep admitted that the past two seasons were not great for him and he tasted failure but now he is back stronger.
"Personally I felt the 2020 IPL did not got well for me. I should have played more matches (for the Kolkata Knight Riders). I felt I was in pretty good rhythm, I was bowling well, but just that I did not get many overs. So, perhaps, if I got more opportunities then it would have been good. I am not saying that was the lowest, to be honest. Even in 2019, I did not have a good IPL," he said.
"Until you fail, you can't handle the pressure. Now I feel I understand things better - I have seen failure in my life now, so even if I don't perform, it will not be new. In cricket, you can't perform at all times, but if you carry on doing the hard work, you create better chances to become successful."
With Indian team returning to home comfort and spin quality will be of significance again, making Kuldeep a heavy favourite to start the Chennai Test against England from Friday.
Speaking of the series, Kuldeep felt England are much-improved side, especially after success in Sri Lanka, but he expects them to struggle in Indian condition.
"England have definitely played pretty good cricket in Sri Lanka. The way they countered spin bowling in Sri Lanka, they are in pretty good rhythm and touch," he said. "It will be a little challenging for me to execute my plans because I am playing after such a long time. But having seen these batsmen play in one-day cricket and having seen them play against Sri Lanka, I do have good plans. I hope I can execute them."
He further said: "Root has time to play his strokes. He also plays spin well off the back foot. Buttler dominates the bowlers really well. That is his strength. Stokes too is similar and keeps the bowler under pressure. Having said that, it will not be so easy for them to perform in India considering they are playing in India [in Test cricket] after a long time. That also matters. If they perform, then credit will go to them."