Kuldeep Yadav comes under a rare group of cricketers. He is a left-arm leg-spinner.
He made his debut across formats in 2017 following good domestic performances in both domestic and IPL cricket.
In 2017 he successfully made his debut across formats and also formed an excellent partnership with Yuzvendra Chahal.
2017 was a period where the Indian team was looking for leg-spinners to be aggressive in the middle-overs of the innings.
Kuldeep and Chahal formed an excellent pair and complimented each other well with their skills.
Both attacking leg-spinners, Chahal, had the skill of outsmarting batsmen with his tempting flighted deliveries, while Kuldeep struck batsmen with his variations.
Their success was not limited to Indian pitches as Chahal and Kuldeep spun webs around oppositions overseas.
The pair contributed heavily to series wins in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand while also winning a T20 series in England.
2018 was a dream year for the two, with one of the spinners always providing the side with breakthroughs at crucial game stages.
Kuldeep Yadav, naturally gifted as a left-arm Chinaman bowler, enjoyed a lot throughout 2018.
He took 17 wickets in a six-match ODI series in South Africa. He followed it with nine wickets in three ODIs in England while taking six wickets in a game.
He managed only two wickets in two games in Australia but followed it up with eight wickets in four ODIs played in New Zealand.
He had a good time in test cricket and took a prestigious five-wicket haul in Sydney.
He took 21 wickets in nine T20is in 2018.
His style of bowling made him tough for batsmen to pick. In particular, his googly was a weapon for him as it fetched him many wickets, surprising the batsmen.
After having such a wonderful time over the last two years, one may wonder what has happened to Kuldeep Yadav now.
In IPL 2019, Kuldeep Yadav only played nine matches and took four wickets.
He had a torrid time and was taken apart by Moeen Ali, who hit three sixes and two fours in an over of Kuldeep.
That over was confidence denting over as it left Kuldeep heartbroken and defeated.
He got a break after the match and later went to play the 2019 World Cup in England.
After the success Kuldeep and Chahal had over the last couple of years, many expectations were there on the two spinners to continue spinning webs around their oppositions.
The tournament started well with glimpses of the pair’s success shown against South Africa and Australia.
Kuldeep Yadav played crucial roles against Pakistan and West Indies. His googly to dismiss Babar Azam is considered one of the best in the tournament.
The googly was enough to display Kuldeep’s strength as a leggie, outfoxing Pakistan’s best batsmen in the tournament.
His wicket was crucial as Babar Azam was a part of Pakistan’s fightback, and the dismissal led to a slide that ended the game for Pakistan.
He had a good spell against the West Indies, helping his side defend 268.
Putting the disappointing IPL behind him, Kuldeep Yadav did well to contribute to the World Cup with his famous skillset.
His slide, however, began again when the two leg-spinners were taken apart by England. While Chahal went wicketless, Kuldeep did a decent job pulling the game back with an economical second spell.
It wasn’t enough to prevent defeat, and after the defeat, doubts were raised on the team composition while playing two leg-spinners.
Both Kuldeep and Chahal are not capable batsmen and contribute in a long tail for the Indian side.
With the two spinners also expensive on days when they fail to pick up wickets, teams have figured out how to counter the pair better.
While Chahal was able to outsmart batsmen and maintain a reasonable economy rate, Kuldeep Yadav was a little more expensive and wasn’t taking wickets the way he did over the past year.
With the loss in form and confidence, the selectors decided to go to other spinners, giving Yadav a break.
They played Jadeja in the world cup semi-finals who partnered Chahal. With Jadeja contributing in all three departments and having proven that he can be economical even on off days, Jadeja was given the nod post-world cup.
Jadeja became a regular in the eleven while Chahal and Kuldeep were rotated to have a more comprehensive batting lineup.
While Kuldeep took a hat-trick against West Indies, his form still seemed to go away.
He had moments of brilliance in the last year but couldn’t do enough to cement his place in the eleven.
Chahal, on the other hand, was a regular in the T20 format, partnering Jadeja on many occasions.
In IPL 2020, Yadav was seen as the perfect support to Sunil Narine.
While his partner, Chahal, has been picking up wickets for Bangalore regularly and placing himself among the top wicket-takers of the season, Kuldeep has struggled to get a place in the side.
He has picked up only one wicket in six games played so far, having lost his place to Varun Chakravarthy.
With his national leg-spin partner, Chahal, going so well, Kuldeep Yadav looks to be falling behind severely and needs to find his mojo back fast.
He is likely to be on the flight to Australia, as he is still a bowler with a lot of potentials and has also enjoyed success in Australia. Still, Kuldeep Yadav needs to get back to his wicket-taking and aggressive ways.
His success is crucial for both him and India to do well in Australia.
Every player goes through a slump. Kuldeep Yadav, at the age of 25, seems to be going through a minor slump now.
Despite not having the best of years, Kuldeep Yadav gave glimpses of what he can do with crucial spells and a hat-trick for India last year.
With many motivating and inspiring players and coaches around Yadav, let’s hope Kuldeep Yadav gets his form and confidence back as he is a crucial and talented bowler across formats.
Being a naturally gifted and aggressive bowler, a confident and in form Kuldeep Yadav would benefit both India and Kolkata Knight Riders for sure.