Gautam Gambhir backed me when no one knew me, says Kuldeep Yadav
What's the story?
Kuldeep Yadav has, without a doubt, been one of India's go-to bowlers in the limited-over format of late, and now he is set to lead the Indian bowling attack in the years to come. But success didn't come for him straight away.
He was made to warm the bench by Mumbai Indians in the 2012 IPL and when he was picked by Kolkata Knight Riders later, he was backed by Gautam Gambhir.The Chinaman bowler credits the out-of-favour Indian batsman for backing him when he was nobody and vows to be grateful to Gambhir for doing so.
In an exclusive interview with CricketNext, Kuldeep said, “I shall always be grateful to Gauti bhai (Gambhir) for backing me when I was a nobody. He backed me when no one knew me. It has been a great ride under him and with my KKR teammates. I always wanted to play for India across all formats, but to channelize that desire I needed the guidance of someone like him.” Kuldeep had revealed.
In case you didn't know...
Kuldeep is India's first ever Chinaman bowler, and he mastered his art when his coach advised him to work on it instead of being a fast bowler. He was a part of the Mumbai Indians squad in 2012 but did not get to play a single game.
A couple of years later, Kolkata Knight Riders got him and he was used well by Gautam Gambhir in the 2014 Champions League T20, which was a kind of breakthrough tournament for the Chinaman.
Kolkata's assistant coach when Kuldeep was picked, Vijay Dahiya, also admitted that Gambhir played a big role in Kuldeep becoming a world-class bowler.
The former India stumper revealed that Gambhir felt that Kuldeep was a match-winner and gave him chances ahead of some big names in the IPL, saying that the franchise realised that he was a special talent when they first saw him.
He also added that he was unsure why, in his opinion, Mumbai didn't utilize his services properly but his team wanted to nurture him as a bowler because they knew about the potential Kuldeep had. According to Dahiya, Gambhir gave him a lot of confidence when he was a part of the squad and had a big role to play in him growing as a bowler.
Kuldeep is a part of the Indian team across all three formats and one can say that he is on the verge of cementing his place in the Indian ODI squad ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
Kuldeep has established himself as a force to reckon with and is set to serve the country for a long period of time. The Chinaman is still a rookie and needs to learn a lot before he starts tormenting the teams with his bowling.
Credit has to be given to both Gautam Gambhir and the KKR management for trusting in the spinner and giving him a lot of confidence when he was a mere stranger to the Indian fans - that confidence has helped him succeed.