It has always been a challenge for the spinners to make an impact on wickets in England. Only the very best have succeeded here.
Kuldeep Yadav, however, has adjusted to these conditions beautifully. He started with a five-wicket haul in the opening match of the tour, the first Twenty20 International at Manchester, and has followed that up with a six-wicket haul to give India a winning start in the one-day series.
“I am enjoying English conditions. It’s perfect for any spinner who is spinning the ball,” declared Kuldeep after his sensational showing at Trent Bridge.
England were off to a roaring start after being put into bat with Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow powering them to 71 for no loss in 10 overs.
A desperate Virat Kohli turned to Kuldeep and he provided the breakthrough in his very first over, before adding two more in his second to rattle the top-order.
India’s move to drop Kuldeep from the playing eleven at Bristol on Sunday had raised eyebrows but it has proved to be a clever ploy not to expose him too much ahead of the ODIs. “It is good thing I didn’t play (in the final T20), that’s why today the performance was good,” said Kuldeep.
In the second T20 at Cardiff, Kuldeep had struggled on a grassy pitch, going wicketless and was taken for runs by Jonny Bairstow in a late assault to turn the match in favour of England.
That defeat would have pricked Kuldeep’s pride. Asked how did he prepare knowing the England batsmen were studying his bowling? Kuldeep said: “It doesn’t matter to me because I never bowl looking at who the batsman is. In my mind, I am only thinking about how I can contribute to the team.
“Sometimes you are not able to perform and then you realise where you have made mistakes or gone wrong. So when I played in Cardiff I looked at where I went wrong, maybe I was not able to read the batsmen properly and it happens.”
Kuldeep’s stunning performance has been in contrast to the other spinners, including his teammates. Even Yuzvendra Chahal has had limited success. A gung-ho Kuldeep said the turn is in the bowler’s heart and hand!
“Whatever cricket I played in growing years, I played on cement wickets and I used to turn the ball there. So I am very grateful to be playing on turning tracks now, I am very lucky. You should have the ability to turn the ball, in your fingers, and you can put in body effort, pivot, finger release, if all that is good the ball will turn.
“If it is turning on this wicket then it will turn everywhere else. In your heart you cannot be afraid that you will get hit and you cannot be under pressure.”
Now, the rising star has his sights firmly on taking his success further to the Test arena. “Talking about test cricket, I am hoping for the call and let’s see what happens in a couple days when they announce the Test team.”