“It was not a slow turner (in Chennai), but I had to increase the pace of my balls. For example, Glenn Maxwell did not get time and if you saw how Smith was bowled (to Jadeja). So, turn as well. With this, speed of delivery also becomes important.”
The turning point in Kuldeep’s career came when he underwent knee surgery in 2021. During the rehab phase, former India team physio Ashish Kaushik advised him to put less pressure on his right leg and it seems the move has worked for Kuldeep. He took 2 wickets for 42 runs in his ten overs against Australia and both wickets came at crucial times.
“Once I was coming back from injury, physio Ashish Kaushik advised that the load on my right leg should be reduced,” Kuldeep said. “After rehab, I implemented it in my training and then in match situations and I felt the difference. It didn’t happen overnight though. It took about six months to get the rhythm back.”
“The way he has played, the way he has bowled over the years. It is not just the numbers but also how you adapt. He provides a different variety to the team.”
While India went with the spin trio of Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin and Kuldeep for their opening match of the World Cup, Kuldeep was of the opinion that the combination could well change at other venues.
“Not sure about the whole tournament, but in the last few years we have seen that you can play with three spinners in Chennai,” Kuldeep said. “If the other team had three quality spinners, it would have been difficult for us as a batting unit as well. I think Maxwell bowled well, but he didn’t get support from the other end.”