IND vs SL 1st ODI – Kuldeep Yadav: It has been 114 days of agony for India’s premier spinner, Kuldeep Yadav. The hammering at the hands of Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes in the 2nd ODI in March had virtually written off Kuldeep and was not even backed to play in the IPL 2021 for Kolkata Knight Riders. But 114 days later, Kuldeep made his comeback with 2/48, helping India win by 7 wickets and proved a point that he isn’t done yet. He was low on confidence and was nervous but head coach on the Sri Lanka tour Rahul Dravid backed him and Kuldeep performed.
“You will definitely be nervous when you play after a long time and would want to perform well. I was too. Initially, I spoke a lot to Rahul Dravid sir. He backed and motivated me and asked me to just enjoy my bowling. He asked me to focus on the process that I have been following so far in the last 15 days and not to think about the result. I am happy that I could perform well, especially with the way the team performed,” Kuldeep Yadav said at the post-match press conference.
IND vs SL 1st ODI: Match highlights: India beat Sri Lanka by 7 wickets
- Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka won the toss and opted to bat first.
- Sri Lanka scored 262/9 in 50 overs as Indian spinners kept them at bay with tight bowling.
- Prithvi Shaw set the stage with a blitzkrieg 43 off 24 balls.
- Ishan Kishan made his ODI debut with a 42-ball 59-run knock.
- Shikhar Dhawan slammed unbeaten 86.
- Suryakumar Yadav went hammer and tongs in his 20-ball 31 as India won the match by 7 wickets to take 1-0 lead in the 3-match ODI series.
IND vs SL 1st ODI: While Sri Lanka weren’t a fearsome unit but after a long break from competitive cricket, Kuldeep Yadav was under pressure. It showed in the 1st over when Bhanuka Rajapaksa smashed him for a boundary. But it was in the 3rd over that he found his rhythm. He had dusted off the rust and made a fine comeback. After dismissing Rajapaksha in his 3rd over, he went for blood and in the 4th delivery of the over, he showed glimpses of his former self.
Kuldeep gets 2 in 2 🔥
Minod edges one to Shaw at slip, has to depart for 27 ☝🏽
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IND vs SL 1st ODI: His tossed-up delivery turned a bit and Bhanuka failed to read the turn. As he attempted to drive the delivery, he failed and gave an outside edge to Prithvi Shaw at slip. That delivery was just a glimpse of what Kuldeep Yadav is capable of and reminded him of his ability. While he didn’t any wickets further, it will give him the confidence he needs to do well in the series and eye a spot in India’s ICC T20 World Cup squad. Rahul Dravid’s mentorship on the tour will be the added advantage as Kuldeep can reinvigorate himself.
“It’s difficult to stay in a bubble, especially when you don’t play. Doubts creep in. Even when people come and offer help, you don’t take it and don’t want to talk to others as the more you speak to people, the more doubts it creates. But it’s a team sport and sometimes one gets an opportunity and one doesn’t. You should always wait for your chance. I am lucky that I have found such a good environment in the team. Everyone backs each other in the team,” Kuldeep Yadav said.
IND vs SL 1st ODI: As for the match, even though R Premadasa pitch was offering a bit help for spinners and hot & humid conditions helping him, he had to make changes to his bowling. He used variations to stun batsmen and the second wicket was one such.
“I have changed the variation a bit. I was varying the pace depending on the batsman as the pitch was dry and little slow. With flight and pace, I wasn’t giving time to batsmen to settle. That was my plan. I am very happy with the way we performed,” he said.
“I am very happy to be playing together again. Perhaps, we are comfortable with each other and back each other and that helps. Even during field setting, we give suggestions to each other. The bonding has helped I guess. I’m happy with the performance,” Kuldeep Yadav said.