Kuldeep Yadav was renowned for his remarkable bowling performances, especially with Yuzvendra Chahal, with the duo being given the name "Kulcha". He is only the second Indian behind Bhuvneshwar Kumar and third spinner other than Imran Tahir and Ajantha Mendis to have picked 5-wicket hauls in all three formats of the game.
There was a time when Kuldeep Yadav's selection was a no-brainer in both the limited-overs formats but as time progressed, the discontinuation of his purple patch has put him in a bad light. Not that the other half of the duo has been doing great, but the left-arm boy from Kanpur has seen an extreme change in his fortune over the past few years.
Let's see how Kuldeep Yadav's journey saw the limelight, followed by some great years, with a disastrous collapse in momentum that followed.
Kuldeep Yadav was a player who was head-over-heels for cricket but after some encouragement from his father, Yadav enhanced his focus on the sport.
He wanted to be the next Zaheer Khan but looking at the fierce competition among the pacers, and his ability to move his wrists swiftly, his coach advised him to become a spinner. This is how the left-arm wrist spinner saw its inception.
A bowler who contrived to pick over 120 wickets in first-class cricket, Yadav first caught everyone's attention when he represented the Men in Blue in the Under-19 World Cup in 2014, a tournament when he took a hat-trick against Scottish opponents.
A player who watched Shane Warne in his early days, Kuldeep Yadav earned his first IPL call-up when he was bought by Mumbai Indians. He was then bought by Kolkata Knight Riders in 2014 where his major development took place. Learning from the likes of Sunil Narine and Brad Hogg, an improvement was bound to happen.
However, Kuldeep got his first opportunity in 2016 where his IPL franchise may have failed to impress everyone, Kuldeep stood out like a piece of diamond in a mine. His variations bewildered the best of batsmen, while his flight and unpredictability helped him take charge as to how to manipulate the batsman's movements.
What happened always happened once again and a successful IPL campaign earned Kuldeep an opportunity to represent India on the international stage, with the senior team this time.
Kuldeep Yadav was roped in for the fourth Test of the Border-Gavaskar series. Four wickets on debut, Kuldeep took them in the most fascinating ways and India understood that the youngster was ready for the big stage.
MS Dhoni knew that this bowler was different from the others and thus, Kuldeep Yadav, along with Chahal with Dhoni behind the stumps made life hell for the opposition.
Until the 2019 World Cup, Kuldeep Yadav's purple patch continued as he picked wickets for fun. From his debut until the World Cup, Kuldeep had the most wickets by any international bowler. Yadav is also the only Indian bowler to have two hat tricks before turning 25.
Not to forget, he is also the third-fastest spinner overall and the fastest Indian spinner to pick 100 international wickets.
The onslaught of the rocky road
Kuldeep became more predictable, his slow pace allowed batsmen to wait, while the latest technology helped the opposition to be wary of his style, with all this leading to Yadav's lack of putting up performances that he was used to.
Just like IPL brought him the spotlight, it was the Indian Premier League only that rained on his plush green career. It started with his failure to pick up wickets consistently. One bad game caused him to miss out on the future game for KKR and that lack of confidence was reflected in the 2019 World Cup.
His tournament wasn't as bad as people project but India opting to play an extra pacer by dropping him after some games was a clear indication that things weren't going as Kuldeep would've thought.
Kuldeep returned strongly after a tough World Cup and picked his second hattrick against West Indies. However, the pandemic struck the world soon and his momentum took a toll again.
Kuldeep Yadav's exceptional delivery at the World Cup 2019.
The captain influence
Chahal and Kuldeep both impressed everyone in the IPL and paved their way into the Indian team, and that was possible because of two captains who knew how to back youngsters.
Kohli for Chahal and Gautam Gambhir for Kuldeep. However, once Gambhir left Kuldeep did not get the backing he would've anticipated and Kolkata's poor IPL form exacerbated his career differently.
Both Chahal and Kuldeep hit a rough patch but the difference was Chahal was fortunate to have Kohli's backing in the IPL that helped him if not to get back to his best but to at least put up numbers that helped him maintain his place in the Indian side.
For Kuldeep, it was different. With the rise of Varun Chakravarthy, with similar attributes of spin and deceptiveness, Kuldeep soon became an outdated option for KKR. However, when Dinesh Karthik stepped down, Eoin Morgan took over and that helped Kuldeep to get some action.
However, cricket is about an entire team and unfortunately, KKR's team balance didn't suit Yadav's selection to be the most effective choice and the inevitable happened.
Things continued in the 2021 edition of the IPL too but a suspension midway could be a turning point for the left-arm spinner.
Kuldeep Yadav is also selected to feature in India's Tour of Sri Lanka and the boy from Kanpur would hope that the opportunity provided to him is capitalized to its fullest.
"What I always look at is his confidence. You could be in form or out of form but when you are confident, you can get through those phases very quickly. What I can see of him is he is very confident the way he is bowling in the nets, so I am sure he will do well in this series."- Bhuvneshwar Kumar
A successful IPL to follow and Kuldeep could make his way into India's core squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup. But he has to know that the journey will not be the sweetest, it will involve only fruits of labor and perseverance.
Thank you दीपे chaaa jao lanka mai 🤗🤗 https://t.co/CqrFvUN5Tj— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) July 3, 2021
What do you think ? Will Kuldeep make a return inIndia 's main squad? Would he be India's part for the upcoming T20 World Cup ? Let us know via our social media accounts.
Follow us on Instagram and Twitter for more updates.We bet you won 't be disappointed. Stay tuned for more updates.