Kuldeep Yadav, while in conversation with former India wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta on ESPNcricinfo, opened up on how Virat Kohli has helped him and Yuzvendra Chahal build a successful spin-bowling partnership.
The wrist-spin duo has been a fixture in India’s limited-overs side, accounting for a total of 189 wickets since Kuldeep made his ODI debut in June 2017. The duo are also the highest wicket-takers in ODI cricket since then, Kuldeep taking 104 wickets and Chahal 85.
Kuldeep put their success down to the freedom that captain Kohli has provided them. “I set my own field now when I come on to bowl,” he said. “Sometimes you can go wrong when the captain is asking for one thing, and you have a different plan in mind.
“There have been times when I erred in my field placements but you learn from these things. If you don’t learn at an early stage in your career, it could become a long-term issue.
Two wickets in quick succession and India are right back in it.
Kuldeep Yadav becomes the third fastest Indian to 100 ODI wickets. He first has Alex Carey caught at short extra-cover and then castles the well set Steve Smith in the same over for 98.#INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/FOUMvWTD30
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) January 17, 2020
“My captain has played a big role in this and Virat bhai [Kohli] has always backed me. He shows a lot of belief if a youngster comes in the team, and gives him full freedom. This is probably one of the reasons why [Yuzvendra] Chahal and I have managed to build a successful partnership. Because he believed that we can win matches for India.
“He always used to say that these two will bowl out the opposition. He left us in a good space of mind because of the faith he showed and after that, everything else becomes easier. He has been very supportive, and has played a big role in my performances at the international level.
“He never asked me to just contain the opposition batsmen, but to always go for wickets. He just wanted me to pick wickets. It didn’t matter if I end up conceding 65-70 runs in my quota of 10 overs. If I conceded 60 runs in 10 overs, but got three wickets, he would be very happy.”