Venkatapathy Raju has opined that Kuldeep Yadav should bowl in his natural style and won't have any pressure when he plays Sri Lanka in the upcoming limited-overs series. Raju also said Kuldeep will have to find his own way to continue his international career after MS Dhoni's retirement.
India has fielded a special white-ball squad under the leadership of Shikhar Dhawan with many fringe players included for their limited-overs tour to Sri Lanka. Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav is one of the senior players who have previously toured Sri Lanka.
The fact that Kuldeep is making his return to international cricket will be one of the things to watch in the upcoming tour after being abruptly ignored by the Indian team management in the last year, where he was very often featured in the playing XI across all the formats despite posting consistence performances. Former Indian spinner Venkatapathy Raju believes Kuldeep won't have any pressure as he already has the international experience and he should bowl the natural balls he has got under his belt.
"He should bowl the way he knows and you get limited opportunities and luckily for him, this (Sri Lanka) tour has come up, and there won't be much pressure on him, he has to bowl the best he can because we all know he has got that variety," Raju told PTI.
"He (Kuldeep) is still a very fantastic bowler. He is very young, so (when) you already have experience of playing international cricket is entirely up to him to concentrate and he has always been a wicket-taker, he has not been a defensive bowler," he added.
Kuldeep did not play a single match for his IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders in the suspended IPL 2021 even when the team was playing in the most spin-favourable conditions. His last T20I appearance for India happened in January 2020 against Sri Lanka, at home. Raju is of the opinion that Sri Lanka's wickets will assist the spinner to make a resounding comeback and also pointed that after Dhoni's retirement the road for Kuldeep is difficult.
"Sri Lanka tracks will be slow, there will be some bite, so it is good for him (Kuldeep) to make a comeback. With IPL and T20 World Cup tracks in UAE likely to be dry and spin-friendly, Kuldeep can be a match-winner," Raju said.
"But unfortunately, we all knew how captains had played a big role in Kuldeep's growth. He has been always saying that he was very comfortable playing under Dhoni, but Dhoni is not going to be there for him till his career is over, so hopefully, he has to come with a solution," he added.
Kuldeep has picked 170 wickets across all formats in international cricket and is the only Indian bowler to have taken two hat-tricks in ODI cricket. Raju thinks the left-arm unorthodox spinner has the ability to pick more than wickets is the best prospect for his selection in the ICC T20 World Cup.
"Kuldeep has a good habit, when he picks a single wicket, he ends up taking two or three (wickets). So, I think he should also be a part of it (T20 World Cup)," Raju concluded.