'At KKR, I needed guidance but...': 'Hurt' Kuldeep Yadav scrapes old wounds, regrets his time with 2-time IPL champions | Crickit
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'At KKR, I needed guidance but...': 'Hurt' Kuldeep Yadav scrapes old wounds, regrets his time with 2-time IPL champions

Apr 24, 2024 03:03 PM IST

Kuldeep Yadav opened up on his time with KKR, when he underwent one of the lowest phases of his career.

Kuldeep Yadav may have transformed into India's best all-format spinner today, but not too long ago, the left-arm wrist-spinner's confidence had hit rock-bottom. After claiming a five-wicket haul against Australia in the Sydney Test, Kuldeep had to wait over two years to play his next Test match. While sporadic appearances in ODIs and T20Is every now and then kept him in the reckoning, not getting to represent India in whites required a lot of patience for Kuldeep. In between, injuries crept in, prolonging Kuldeep's wait. The frustration grew but there wasn't much he could do than bide his time.

Kuldeep Yadav's career renaissance began with his switch to Delhi Capitals in 2022.(ANI)
Kuldeep Yadav's career renaissance began with his switch to Delhi Capitals in 2022.(ANI)

However, Kuldeep endured one of the lowest periods of his career during his time at Kolkata Knight Riders. Everything was rosy until 2018, but when 2019 came around, things started to go from bad to worse. Four wickets from 9 matches in 2019, followed by 1 wicket from 5 games knocked Kuldeep's confidence out of the park. He was never quite the same. Enduring the worst phase of his career, Kuldeep looked back at his time at KKR with regret, hurt and plenty of disappointment.

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"In KKR, I needed guidance but now I don't need it, as now I dictate terms. In 2019, Mahi bhai had retired that year and I needed guidance. The idea that I have now, has come with experience. I still regret my time in KKR (from 2016-2020) and feel whatever I am doing now, wish I could have done it back then. It still hurts me that had I worked on those skills back then, I could have dominated even more," Kuldeep told PTI.

Kuldeep Yadav's twist of fate

Things ultimately switched for the good, when in 2022, Delhi Capitals signed Kuldeep. Backed by coach Ricky Ponting as one of the prime game-changers in the team, Kuldeep entered a whole-new phase of his career. And with 21 wickets from 14 matches, it was time for him to shine through again.

The year 2023 wasn't as fruitful with 10 wickets from 14 matches as the Capitals finished second from bottom, but this year, Kuldeep is exuding a self-belief and confidence never seen before. Ever since his return from injury last year, Kuldeep has left his Kul-cha partner Yuzvendra Chahal, way behind and been preferred over Ravindra Jadeja… and some may say even Ravichandran Ashwin as Rohit Sharma's No. 1 and go-to spinner.

"It [resurgence] didn't happen back then as experience is something that you get only when you play a lot. When you encounter failure in life, then only you learn and now I am more confident about my skills and at the same time respectful of the fact that opposition can be good too," added Kuldeep.

"Back in the day, I didn't do (respect opposition) that. I believed in my skills but then at the same time you need to understand how the batter is playing and that maturity has come, knowing my strength and where to bowl so that it is difficult to hit, and I am working on that."

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