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.”
“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.