Don’t need to say if I was dependent on MS Dhoni: Kuldeep Yadav

NEW DELHI: Wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav has been an enigma ever since his arrival on the international stage three years ago. Touted then as the next big thing in Indian spin, Kuldeep was largely seen as a trump card in India’s white-ball setup till last year’s World Cup. However, a place in the playing XI has not been guaranteed since. Excerpts from an interview…
How have you spent the last two-three months?

I spent a lot of time with family, which is always great. I have caught up on painting and flying kites!

We needed a break, but this has been too long. Safety comes first. If you are not active in your profession, you tend to miss it. I have been watching a lot of videos of my bowling. There are a few fine things that I have noticed, and I will work around these small observations.
You have talked a lot about how MS Dhoni has guided you from behind the stumps. Now that he hasn’t been playing after the World Cup, has it been different?
Of course. Mahi bhai has always guided me, because the wicketkeeper is always the best judge of the bowler. Someone like Mahi bhai is experienced and has an idea about how a batsman plays. All of this is teamwork. Just because Mahi bhai hasn’t played after the World Cup, I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. I don’t need to say if I was dependent on him. I can just work towards bettering my craft and as I said, it’s teamwork.

With the ban on using saliva, do you think spinners will play a more important role?
It will be difficult for every bowling unit. It will affect both fast bowlers and spinners because when you get a good shine on the ball, as a spinner it helps you get drift in the air. Not using saliva will be challenging because we have been using it since childhood. It is an instinctive reaction when you get the ball in your hand. Changing that habit will be a challenge.
You and Chahal became very popular wrist-spinning options around two years ago. Post the World Cup, a place in the playing XI is not guaranteed for either because you and Chahal are not played together…
Wrist spin is not that easy. Chahal and I have bonded well for years. After the World Cup we haven’t played together because it depends on the selection and team combination. You’ve got to be flexible with the team’s requirements.

When training resumes, which ball would you prefer to start with, red or white?
I will start with a red ball. When you go out on any practice ground, red-ball usage is always more, but as the practice sessions increase, I will be using the white ball too.
Wrist spinners struggle with accuracy more than other bowlers. How tough will it be to get your loop, zip and accuracy back?
It’s important for any spinner to maintain his accuracy, specially for a wrist spinner who drifts or needs the loop. You need regular practice for a month to get that going.

You got five wickets in your previous Test but haven’t got a chance since…
You always want to go out there and play. But you have to work on your craft irrespective of your place in the playing XI. I hope to put in my best and deliver when I get an opportunity. For me, it’s always the team before self.