- Rohit Singh | December 18, 2022 | 1:33 am
Imagine being Kuldeep Yadav. It’s February 2021. Kuldeep have just made a Test comeback after two years. Kuldeep bowl 12.2 overs in a match dominated by spinners against England and take two wickets. Next match, Kuldeep miss out as the team management wants to field a spinner who can bat better (Washington Sundar). Kuldeep sit and watch as he makes a crucial contribution with the bat while bowling just 11.4 overs for one wicket across two matches.
Kuldeep Yadav wait for your chance but injure your knee, missing the IPL and whatever chance Kuldeep had of making the T20 World Cup. Early 2022, Kuldeep make an ODI comeback, play one ODI and wait again as another Test series Sri Lanka passes by. Then, another IPL comes along. This time, Kuldeep are not with the franchise Kuldeep rose to the top. In a new team, Kuldeep finish as the fifth-highest wicket-taker of the season. Primed for a comeback, Kuldeep miss the T20I series due to a hand injury. From thereon, Kuldeep feature in a second-string Indian team, that was playing ODIs, and India A teams. Kuldeep miss the T20 World Cup, and don’t get a chance in New Zealand. Kuldeep wait.
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Kuldeep has found the perfect chance to get back to the National Team
Eventually, the call-up for the Test series against Bangladesh comes along. With Ravindra Jadeja ruled out, Kuldeep get a go in the first Test. Kuldeep Yadav join R Ashwin (50) in the middle when the team is in a tricky position (293/7) on Thursday morning, add a vital 92 runs together 40 to your name to put your team in command (404). Then Kuldeep wait for 24 overs as the pacers make an impact, reducing the hosts to 74/4. Kuldeep finally get the ball in your hand. Your first over in Tests in 22 months and Kuldeep have a chance to make an impact. What would Kuldeep want to do in your first over?
Here’s what Kuldeep did. First ball, pitched in middle and leg from over the wicket, kicking up some dust off the surface, and flicked for a single by Mushfiqur Rahim. Second ball. Shakib Al Hasan on strike. Shakib jumped out, Kuldeep followed him. The ball dipped in front of Shakib, pitched on leg-stump, turned away, taking the leading edge on its way to Virat Kohli’s hands in first slip. A big wicket, off the very second ball and the celebration was more of a relief than anything else. After all, he was just getting started. The next four balls had a boundary, an appeal for a close catch in first slip, a googly to beat the bat and then a regular leg-spinner which hit the pads given not out and umpire’s call on review.