Kuldeep Yadav, while in conversation with Deep Dasgupta on ESPNcricinfo, spoke of how MS Dhoni‘s presence behind the stumps helped him better his game, and revealed why he has missed the former India captain.
Dhoni has been instrumental in the rise of India’s devastating spin duo of Kuldeep and Yuzvendra Chahal, guiding them on the field, with stump mics regularly picking up his instructions to the duo during their spells.
Kuldeep wasn’t used to reading the pitch before starting his international career, and with Dhoni doing the field-setting for him, the 25-year-old was able to concentrate fully on his bowling. “When I started my career, I wasn’t good at reading the pitch,” he said. “I never actually thought about the wicket. So I didn’t plan on how to bowl if it was a spinning track, or had some grass on it.
“I learned about this aspect after I started playing with Mahi bhai. He would often tell me when I needed to spin the ball or where I needed to pitch it or when I need to bowl a fast one. I never felt that I was missing my coach, who used to keep pushing me to spin the ball more.
“I didn’t pay much attention to field-setting as well because Mahi bhai was very good at it. That’s why I never paid attention to field placement when I bowled with him keeping the wicket. He understood where the batsman could try to hit me, and set the field accordingly.”
With Dhoni missing from India’s set-up for almost a year now, he has been dearly missed by the left-arm wrist spinner. “It helped me bowl with more confidence,” Kuldeep added. “This is something I learnt from him and I have really felt his absence from the ODI team.”