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About a Chinaman made in India

Kuldeep Yadav on his dream debut, run of emotions and that meeting with Virat Kohli on the boundary ropes

You could hear Sunil Gavaskar in the commentary box talking about the origin of the word ‘Chinaman’. Kuldeep Yadav had just about begun bowling in his debut Test and he was already creating quite a flutter, not just on the field, but also off it. Before all the fairytale began and Kuldeep ended up with what he claimed to be a ‘dream debut’, it was not too long ago in the morning that he had received his Test cap.

A reception in the huddle amidst smiles and applause and a moment of emotion for young Kuldeep who later said had a sleepless night on Test match eve. “To be honest, when I got to know yesterday that I was going to be playing my first Test, I was nervous and had a sleepless night,” Kuldeep told BCCI.TV. “I was bound to have butterflies in my stomach since it was time for my debut that too in whites. There was nervousness and excitement when I received my Test cap this morning and that was a dream come true moment for me. To come out and put up such a telling performance on my debut was like an icing on the cake. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

The run of emotions were to continue when Kuldeep walked out to bowl before Lunch. He would have to wait for his first wicket post Lunch but the moment he got David Warner nick one to get caught at slips, there was a leap in the air and a double fist pump, a look towards the sky and a gentle embrace to his teammates.

“It was an emotional moment for me to take my maiden wicket. I had dreamt about this moment since childhood, since the time I started playing cricket. I won’t forget that moment. What was more enjoyable was the fact that the team needed a breakthrough badly at that time. I was glad I could help and contribute to the team’s cause. After that, my confidence levels went up and the nervousness that I felt in the morning went off. I thoroughly enjoyed bowling today.”

What was even more interesting to see was Virat Kohli doing his twelfth man duties diligently. Out came the drinks and a rush to the boundary ropes to give young Kuldeep a pat on the back and a quick drink. For Kuldeep that gesture from the captain, proved to be a motivation to go ahead and do well in the rest of the innings.

“After taking my first wicket, Virat bhai came to the boundary ropes and congratulated me. He told me I was bowling well and motivated me to do well further. In the dressing room during Lunch, we had devised plans for each batsman and Kohli was reminding me of those plans at the boundary ropes asking me to stick to the plans and continue bowling well.

“He has been motivating me throughout the season be it in the nets or when I have not been included in the playing eleven. As a youngster, your captain coming to you and motivating you does help and boosts your confidence.”

Thing took a U-turn post Lunch. Australia had dominated the first session scoring at close to five runs an over with the loss of just one wicket. Kuldeep walked in to bowl and turned the tide in India’s favour with some disciplined bowling keeping the Australia batsmen on their toes. Some deliveries went in, while the others went out and at times there would be that odd flipper – an art he discussed with Shane Warne  Brushing shoulders with 1300+ wickets after the end of the 1st Test in Pune.

“It was a very good wicket to bat on and it didn’t have much turn or bounce for the bowlers. I just wanted to stick to a disciplined line,” Kuldeep said.“I believe Glenn Maxwell and Peter Handscomb’s wickets were very important given the circumstances. Both wickets were good and both had variations in them. I got one wicket off a typical chinaman delivery and the other on a wrong ‘un. All wickets were important for me and it is a feeling I cannot express at the moment.”

With a 4-wicket haul to his name, India wrapped up Australia for 300. Kuldeep led the team back to the dressing room and was greeted with pats on his back. After stumps, his phone wouldn’t stop ringing, congratulatory texts were pouring in his inbox and he was surprised to see social media go bonkers about his performance. He sat in a couch inside the dressing room, with the phone in his hand and he had yet another task cut out.

Anand Subramaniam
Anand Subramaniam

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Mohammed Shami hopeful of Test return

Shami feels the Indian quicks have been accurate in the series and he is ready to bowl with same intensity

Mohammed Shami has been out of action for four months. The last he played a game in whites was in November 2016 against England in Mohali. Since then, his knee began acting up and he was ruled out for the remainder of the two games of the series in Mumbai and Chennai. Shami went back to the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru and began his rehabilitation process to regain full fitness.

The last time he was at the NCA during the ongoing Test series against Australia, he was seen bowling full tilt with minimal discomfort. He has been traveling with the current Indian contingent and is being closely monitored by the team management. Shami had a long stint at the nets on the eve of the final Test in Dharamsala and said he was feeling confident about his bowling.

“I am a lot more comfortable than before. I am feeling good, especially over the last 15 days since I have played those two games of the Vijay Hazare Trophy,” Shami told BCCI.TV. “It has been a long time since I have played a match, so those two games have helped me in my confidence mentally and physically. When I played the first match in Chennai, there was some discomfort but when I played the last match in Delhi, I was hundred per cent sure that I was giving it my all without the body acting up. I picked up four wickets in the final and I took a lot of bowling confidence from it.”

Shami bowled for more than an hour at the nets in Dharamsala with short breaks in between. He looked in no discomfort whatsoever and there were no compromises in pace as well. “In my drills, I am increasing my stamina slowly and the progress has been good. The work is going on well. I am completely ready to play the short formats and I don’t think I have an issue with that. I did have my doubts about my participation in the final Test here in Dharamsala but after going though my drills and bowling at the nets, I am feeling comfortable.”

The fast bowler believed the management had played a huge role in making him feel comfortable and keep him in good stead to use his services when need be. “The activities, the routines and drills are quite different when you are traveling with the team. You feel very comfortable when you are around your teammates and have the support of the team management. They give a lot of confidence and a player going through a comeback from injury benefits a lot.

“I never expected myself to be out of action for such a long time,” he continued. “I miss being a part of this side and when you are not traveling with the team, you miss it even more. I watch the matches and think how it would have been had I been in that situation and what my bowling partners are doing on the field.”

For Shami, the wait to get into the squad has been frustrating and testing, especially at a time when he was in a good bowling form. “It is a frustrating process to be out of action when you are bowling at your peak. Physically you are down, but you got to be very strong mentally. You need to have complete dedication towards your rehabilitation. Even now, I always tell myself that I am hundred per cent fit and have the same intensity like the last time I walked on the field. That boosts my confidence. During such times, the family support matters a lot. When you speak to your loved ones and they give you confidence, you feel good and it helps you mentally.”

Shami has been keeping a close watch on the ongoing Test series and has been giving his two cents to his fellow pacers. He believed the Indian pacers have done a great job in the series so far. “I think our pacers have done really well in this series. Our fast bowlers have been bowling with a lot of pace in the right areas. Our fast bowlers are quicker and more accurate than theirs (Australia).

“We often discuss bowling plans and share our own take on certain match situations. The bond between the pacers in the side is great and it helps for the team’s cause. I believe we are moving well as a unit. Hopefully we can put up a good all-round bowling performance and can win the series 2-1.”

Shami has good memories of playing in scenic Dharamsala. Will he make a return in the final Test? Time will only tell. “I have played a lot of matches here in Dharamsala and I have fond memories of the same. I hope and wish that I walk on to the ground for the fourth Test and help the team win the Test.” 

Anand Subramaniam
Anand Subramaniam

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