Dumped by Kolkata, Kuldeep regains mojo at Delhi in World Cup year

MUMBAI : Delhi Capitals spinner Kuldeep Yadav believes he is in the middle of his best Indian Premier League (IPL) season ever and his resurgence is likely to place him in India’s plans for this year’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.

Kuldeep was Kolkata Knight Riders’ go-to bowler until the 2019 season before things went awry for the left-arm wrist spinner.

The 27-year-old was dropped by his franchise after managing just one wicket in five matches in 2020 and he missed the entire 2021 season with bad form and a knee injury.

Released by Kolkata ahead of the ongoing season, Kuldeep has thrived at Delhi claiming 17 wickets in eight matches equalling his 2018 haul from 16 games.

“This has to be my best IPL season, definitely,” the spinner said after his 4-14 set up Delhi’s four-wicket victory against Kolkata on Thursday.

“I’m enjoying bowling, and I’ve become a lot clearer with my plans. I gave away some runs in certain matches but I’ve backed my skills.”

Both of Kuldeep’s four-wicket hauls this season came against his former franchise and the spinner said he learnt from his failures at Kolkata.

“I have become a better bowler now. I’m a lot stronger mentally. I’ve tasted failure and I’m no more afraid of it.”

Yuzvendra Chahal leads the wicket-takers’ chart this season with 18 wickets. Kuldeep, who is second in that table, denied being in a race with his former India team mate for the highest wicket-taker’s honour.

“He’s like an elder brother who always backed me. When I was out with injuries, he’d call me and motivate me. There’s no competition.

“I really want him to win the purple cap. He has been bowling exceptionally over the past three-four seasons and he deserves it.”

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