India spinner Kuldeep Yadav believes that he was able to create confusion in the minds of Pakistani batters as they went for high risk sweep shots despite failing to read his hand in the marquee World Cup clash here. Kuldeep took the important wickets of Saud Shakeel and Iftikhar Ahmed, both of whom went for the non existent sweep shot off the left arm wrist spinner, hastening the Pakistan collapse. Asked if he planned to bowl Iftikhar around his legs, Kuldeep gave an interesting reply.
“No, I didn’t plan that I would try to bowl Iftikhar around the legs but since I bowl the wrong ‘un (googly), I tried that but it was a wide ball and also a bit on the shorter side which made it difficult for him to sweep,” Kuldeep said during his interaction in mixed zone after the seven-wicket win.
Iftikhar, also fondly referred to as “chacha” (Uncle) by Pakistani fans, played the ball on to the stumps. “It was lucky wicket for me and this kind of wicket puts pressure on batters. They weren’t able to read me from the hands and were in two minds whether to sweep or play normally. I would have loved to get him out in a better manner though,” Kuldeep said with a smile.
In fact, Kuldeep wasn’t supposed to bowl that over and only got to do that after speaking to skipper Rohit Sharma.
“I thought they would try to sweep as they are known to play that shot. But they didn’t take chance but that extra over that I bowled after discussing with skipper, both wickets came in that over.
“Obviously Mohammed Siraj got Babar and that breakthrough helped. Planning to bowl that extra over did get us those two wickets and they couldn’t recover.”
There wasn’t much help for pacers or spinners from Motera track and Kuldeep reckoned 270 would have been a good target to chase.
“There were no plans that we would restrict them to certain total. All plans are based on nature of surface. 270 was a good score to chase on this wicket.
“Singles were coming easily but the wicket was so good for batting that whenever you pitched it a bit fuller, batters got easy boundaries. It was important that we found the good length spot and hit it repeatedly.”
There was no turn or seam movement available, he said.
“On this track, we can’t say that the ball was seaming or spinning (turning) too much. Yes it was slow and plan was to prevent batters from getting room to hit. Squeeze the run flow by cutting singles.”
He was quizzed about the delivery he bowled to dismiss Babar in Manchester during the 2019 edition of World Cup and he didn’t seem to be too excited.
“That was a good ball and it got hyped because of the World Cup but I have got people out with similar deliveries in bilaterals. As a spinner, you want to bowl these deliveries where batters are absolutely clueless as to which one is turning.
“That Manchester wicket had nip and bounce. Against good batters, it’s important to bowl in one area and force them to make mistakes. Rhythm gives you confidence.” Kuldeep hasn’t played a game against Pakistan where the Indian team has lost and he is happy to keep that record intact.
“To be honest, I played 3-4 games against them and lucky to win all of them. For me, you saw the crowd, atmosphere you want to do well. In 2019, best moment was playing against Pakistan.”
But does he like bowling more in the first session?
“My bowling under lights has always been good. I always want to bowl second but what to do as Rohit bhai doesn’t listen to me,” he said in jest.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by String Reveals staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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