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How a wrathful Kuldeep became a wrist spinner

How a wrathful Kuldeep became a wrist spinner

Lately, wrist-spin has become the most sought-after substance  in International cricket and the wrist-spinners all over the world are benefitting from this. The development of  Kuldeep turning into a Chinaman bowler is a very interesting story.

From dribbling over the bowling of Wasim Akram in his youth, Kuldeep’s tendency was more towards fast-bowling as he pledged one day to become like his idol. But on the insistence of his coach Kapil Pandey at the academy, who clarified to him how one needs to be powerful physically to become a successful fast-bowler, a ruffled Kuldeep grabbed his coach’s ball and the first delivery he had bowled in his nets turned out to be a Chinaman to his coach’s shock. 

Pandey revealed in Spicy Pitch’s latest episode, “So, as all the kids think of their coaches, that they can trick them and do what they want, he (Kuldeep) also came up to me and said, ‘Give me the ball.’ He was furious, and the first ball he bowled was a Chinaman.One more ball, I told him. Both of his balls were on goal, the right length across. I told him, now you’re just going to bowl like this.”

The Kanpur-born lad shot to fame for the first time in 2014 when he scored a hat-trick against Scotland in Dubai for India at the U-19 World Cup. He picked up 14 wickets in the matches, and demonstrated to be a match-winner for India. After his outstanding performances,  Kuldeep was picked for the West Indies ODIs at home in the same year in the Indian squad. Despite not making his debut, he played his first game for India after 3 years.

The mystery spinner flips back the clock and opens up to “underestimate” his own  capacities because he thinks India’s calling would have arrived much earlier.

“It is my pleasure to take part in the Ranji Trophy from UP. So, in my life, I underestimated myself. Sometimes I felt that I wasn’t ready to play for India. But now, I feel that I should have played for India much earlier,” Kuldeep confesses.

Kuldeep’s dream-come-true, when he made his Test debut at Dharamsala for India against Australia in 2017. He made heads turn clear, in the first innings, by taking four wickets. Kuldeep identified the nerves of the day before the test Kuldeep and his trap strategy behind setting up David Warner, the one to be his maiden Test scalp.

“One day, Anil sir said we will let you play on tomorrow and your mission is to take 5 wickets. So, I just froze for a minute. Then I reply, yes sir, I’m going to take 5 wickets. I kept thinking about how I’m going to get David Warner out during lunch. Then I arranged for it: I’ll be bowling 3-4 regular flights first. He must advance to play them. Then I’m going to bowl a flipper and maybe he’ll move to the back foot and be caught or bowled behind. That’s just what has happened.

Kuldeep dismissed the Pakistan’s batsman Babar Azam with a special delivery “Ball of the Century”, and this has become his focal point in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. 

Kuldeep mentioned, “That was not the same. That’s how a spinner’s ball moved and went through. That’s when it struck. Then it turned to come inside. Sometimes you curious how you did it. That’s a white ball too, not a red ball.”

Speaking of the influence of Shane Warne and the tips he had picked up from the spin wizard when he met him Down Under in 2018, Kuldeep said, “I just wanted to be like him. He would come every morning when we were in Australia, and give me a few minutes. Whenever I ask him how my arm will come down faster or I’m landing quickly, he will teach me and say give it more strength, keep it tighter and give it a try. And there were things like that which he helped me with.

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