New Delhi: Team India’s out-of-favor spinner Kuldeep Yadav was acquired by Delhi Capitals for INR 2 crore in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 mega auction. Apart from DC, Punjab Kings had also shown interest in buying him, but his former IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), for whom Kuldeep played for seven years from 2014 to 2021, did not place any bets on Kuldeep this year. Delhi has given complete freedom and security to Kuldeep, due to which the leggie has made a strong comeback. He has so far picked 13 wickets, including a four-wicket haul against Kolkata.
Rishabh Pant’s captaincy has played a key role in Kuldeep Yadav’s redemption. The spinner finds shades of MS Dhoni in his current Delhi Capitals skipper’s characteristics as he enjoys his new-found “freedom of expression”.
“I feel Rishabh is showing a few glimpses of MS Dhoni’s characteristics behind the stumps. He guides well and stays calm on the field,” he said during the fourth episode of The DC Podcast.
“Wicketkeepers play a big role in the success of spinners. The credit for my performance in this IPL goes to Rishabh as well. We have a good understanding now.”
Kuldeep said the freedom and security that he got from his new franchise helped him to perform this year.
“When you are given the freedom to express yourself then you start to enjoy everything,” said Kuldeep, who played for KKR for seven years from 2014 to 2021.
“When I spoke to Ricky during my first practice session with the team, he told me that I am bowling very well and that he’s looking to play me for all 14 league matches. That conversation with him motivated me a lot.”
Kuldeep, who has taken 53 wickets in 52 IPL matches so far, also attributed his success to working closely with assistant coach Shane Watson.
“Shane Watson has also helped me a lot. I am very lucky to have worked with Watson for three-four sessions. He has particularly helped me with the mental aspect of the game.
“I have shared a lot of things with him about what I have been through before joining this team. I speak openly with him.”
Delhi Capitals are set to take on Kolkata Knight Riders in a return leg match at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday.
(With PTI Inputs)