Kuldeep Yadav‘s sudden loss of form in the ongoing IPL will not in any way impact his performance in the World Cup where he will have ample chance of a comeback, feels senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh. Kuldeep, who is expected to be a vital cog in India’s World Cup campaign, has got only four wickets in nine games for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL and was dropped in the last game against Sunrisers Hyderabad due to “poor form”.
“There is no doubt that Kuldeep is going through a rough patch in IPL. T20 is a format which can destroy the confidence of any bowler but let’s not compare formats. One-day (match) is a different ball game and you will see a very different Kuldeep,” Harbhajan told PTI during an interview on Wednesday. Harbhajan said from what he has seen Kuldeep bowling in the IPL, the wrist spinner has no technical problems as such.
“I have watched a bit of his bowling and I don’t think there are any technical problems. And please check who all are hitting Kuldeep? The Indian guys are primarily hitting him. Virat (Kohli) in two games, Mayank (Agarwal), Mandy (Mandeep), Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Shikhar Dhawan. “Leave aside Virat, who is in a different league, all these guys are competent players of spin bowling. They read Kuldeep’s wrists much better than foreign batsmen. So in World Cup, Kuldeep will be bowling mostly to those who are still not reading him well. I think you will see a different Kuldeep,” said Harbhajan, who has played two World Cup finals.
But Harbhajan expects Kuldeep to show some situational awareness when he is getting hit. He said in that situation his franchise captain should also play a role. “If he is getting hit by giving the deliveries more air, for a change, he can just push it a bit faster. If they are stepping out and hitting from the length, he can just alter the length by half a yard. Now when you get hit, your mind does not work automatically.
“So there comes in the captain, who should tell him, ‘Okay, you have tried your thing, now try what I am telling you’. It helps a youngster,” said the player who has been a part of two most successful franchises in CSK and Mumbai Indians. Harbhajan then explained that in the World Cup, no team will be consistently attacking Kuldeep.
“He may get hit but in the middle overs, the skipper will pack one side of the field, whether it’s inside 30-yard circle or outside. Even if he is hit for two fours, he can come back with figures of 3/50 or 2 for 45 on most days. And that’s decent figures. In ODIs, you have to be a really bad bowler to go for 75-80 runs every day,” said Harbhajan, who has 269 wickets from 236 ODIs.
Another factor that will certainly work in Kuldeep and Yuzvendra Chahal’s favour is the period of play when they are expected to operate. “In IPL, Kuldeep is bowling the 14th or even the 16th over when batsmen are throwing their bats around. In the World Cup, Virat will probably finish their quota by latest 42nd or 43rd over. So the last seven overs, which will always be tricky, they are not expected to bowl,” Harbhajan said.