Kuldeep Yadav has admitted that he misses MS Dhoni’s advice from behind the stumps, with the wrist-spinner reminiscing about how the former India skipper used to consistently mentor him.
The 26-year-old’s international career has taken a freefall ever since MS Dhoni exited the Indian team. Known for being a master mentor behind the stumps, many feel Kuldeep Yadav’s poor form is due to the absence of the experienced wicket-keeper.
In an interview with The Indian Express, Kuldeep Yadav was asked whether his international career would be on a different trajectory had MS Dhoni still been with the Indian side.
“Sometimes I miss that guidance because he (Mahi) has great experience. He used to guide us behind the wicket, kept screaming! We miss his experience. Rishabh is there now, the more he plays, the more input he will give in the future. I always felt every bowler needs a partner who can respond from the other end,” Kuldeep pondered.
Kuldeep Yadav enjoyed the best phase of his career alongside MS Dhoni, playing 47 ODIs with the veteran wicket-keeper. He took 91 wickets in 47 games at an average of 22.53. However, since Dhoni’s international retirement, Kuldeep has managed to pick up just 14 wickets in 16 games at an appalling average of 61.71. His bowling strike rate has taken a hit too, plummeting from 27.8 with MS Dhoni to 59.6 without him.
It has been a similar story for Yuzvendra Chahal, who has failed to reach the heights in recent months. India proved to be quite successful with the “Kul-Cha” pairing in the middle-overs, as the two wrist-spinners wreaked havoc against the opposition. But India have moved away from the strategy since MS Dhoni’s departure, with Kuldeep ruing the dismantling of what was a successful partnership.
“When Mahi bhai was there, I and Chahal were playing. Ever since Mahi bhai left, Chahal and I haven’t played together. I played only a handful of games after Mahi bhai left. I must have played ten-odd games. I had even taken a hat-trick. If you look at the performance as a whole, it will look pretty decent but if one breaks it up then my performance sometimes can look not up to the mark. One has to also look at the opposition we are playing against,” Kuldeep claimed.
Was depressed after losing my place at KKR: Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav’s fortunes in the IPL haven’t been better either, with Varun Chakravarthy replacing him as Kolkata Knight Riders’ frontline spinner.
After playing just five IPL games over the past two seasons, Kuldeep admits his struggles have left him depressed.
“I was (depressed) especially when I didn’t find a place in my IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders. I wondered, ‘am I that bad?’ It’s a team-management decision and it would be wrong to go and ask them. I wasn’t played in Chennai during the IPL despite knowing it’s a turner. I was a bit shocked but couldn’t do anything. The bio-bubble life has also thrown challenges for everyone. When I am not playing, nothing looks nice,” Kuldeep said.
Kuldeep Yadav has not been picked for India’s red-ball squad that will play in the World Test Championship final and the England Test series in the coming months. The wrist-spinner, however, may be part of India’s white-ball squad that will tour Sri Lanka in July.