Kuldeep Yadav, in a startling statement, has admitted that he wondered if he was that bad after KKR did not pick him during the franchise’s first leg in Chennai. He also insisted that he was low on confidence, stating that he had both high pressure, with no motivation helping him.
Kuldeep Yadav’s career can easily be described in two halves - one of euphoria and the other of a dilemma, especially when the Indian team had seemingly moved past him despite his presence on the bench. In Australia, where Ravi Shastri once described him as the ‘No.1’ spinner in away conditions, Kuldeep managed to fall behind the likes of Washington Sundar in the playing list.
It was only in India, during the four-match Test series against England, where he made a comeback. However, after that comeback, his game time was restricted, with KKR not even giving him a single appearance during the season of the IPL. Looking back at it, Kuldeep Yadav admitted that he wondered if he was that bad after the franchise didn’t pick him during the Chennai leg, where there was assistance for the spinners.
"I was, especially when I didn't find a place in my IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders. I wondered, 'am I that bad?' It's a team-management decision and it would be wrong to go and ask them," Kuldeep responded when asked if we depressed,” Kuldeep told The Indian Express in an interview.
"I wasn't played in Chennai during the IPL despite knowing it's a turner. I was a bit shocked but couldn't do anything. The bio-bubble life has also thrown challenges for everyone. When I am not playing, nothing looks nice," he added.
Over the last two years, since the euphoria in Sydney, Kuldeep was rather an unused member of the squad and he admitted that, during that time, he attempted to motivate himself. However, the self-doubt crept in and he started questioning himself as the days progressed.
"There were days when you feel serving drinks and being on the bench is for the best – yaar yeh to best seat hai apne liye – and then but there are days you don’t want to be in that place. I would think, I should have been there playing. I tried to motivate myself every time. I try to be happy and feel that I am bowling well. There was self-doubt somewhere. It happens with everyone, I started questioning myself."
He also added that the more he sat out on the bench, the tougher it became for him to motivate himself and perform at the highest level. During the Chennai game, where he made a comeback, he went wicketless in the first innings before returning with just two wickets in the second, operating as the third-spinner in the Indian bowling attack.
"I didn't play as many matches as I expected to, and somewhere I was low on confidence. When you are playing non-stop, players do feel high on confidence. The more one sits out the more it gets tougher. “
"I felt a huge pressure on me when I played the Test against England in Chennai this February (his last Test was in January 2019). Due to Covid there was nothing happening, so things got really tougher even more last year. It wasn't the best period," he concluded.