NEW DELHI: A few rough seasons with the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise in the IPL, not enough chances in the national team, warming benches, carrying drinks, and injury setbacks – Kuldeep Yadav has gone through a lot in the past three years. But the left-arm wrist spinner is back with a bang and is currently second on the list of highest wicket-takers of IPL 2022, with 17 scalps.

Kuldeep, who was part of the Kolkata Knight Riders unit from 2014 to 2021, was released by KKR last year and was bought for Rs. 2 crores (base price) by the Delhi Capitals.
The wrist-spinner was roped in by KKR in 2014 and was handed his debut IPL cap in 2016. He steadily became a key member of the team, especially in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, in which he claimed, a cumulative, 29 wickets (12 wickets in 2017 and 17 wickets in 2018). But then came the dip. In 2019 and 2020 combined Kuldeep managed to take just 5 wickets in 13 IPL matches. In 2021, Kuldeep had a major knee surgery that ruled him out of the entire edition.
Kuldeep’s childhood coach Kapil Dev Pandey feels KKR failed to handle Kuldeep properly and the Chinaman bowler should be thankful that he was released by the two-time IPL champions. He spoke to recently about this and more.

At a 2 crore base price, Kuldeep was definitely a steal for the Delhi franchise. Kuldeep has been on a wicket-taking spree in the tournament, bamboozling batsmen with his various tweaks and variations. There is a sense of maturity now in his bowling. He has featured in all 9 matches that DC has played so far in IPL 2022, taking 17 wickets, including 2 four-wicket hauls. The 27-year-old has also already bagged as many as four Man of the Match awards in this edition.
The stage was set for Kuldeep once he entered a new IPL set-up. What he really needed was someone to motivate and inspire him, on and off the field. MS Dhoni, his former India captain, had done that for him on the field, guiding him from behind the stumps. In DC, Kuldeep found great support from the captain Rishabh Pant and Head coach Ricky Ponting. Pant talking to Kuldeep and planning strategies with him on the field is something we see on a regular basis in DC matches.


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