Left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav has revealed a massive communication gap between him and the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) think-tank, stating “nobody gave me an explanation” for being left out of the playing XI over the last few IPL seasons.
In conversation with former India player turned commentator, Aakash Chopra, over his Youtube show, Kuldeep said he has been made to feel dispensable by the KKR team management with “no trust” shown in his skill and overall ability.
The young gun added there have been multiple instances where he has felt he deserves to be in the playing XI but he has not got his due opportunity.
“If the coaches have worked with you before and are with you for a prolonged period of time, they understand you better. But it becomes very difficult when the communication is weak. Sometimes you don’t even know that whether you will be playing or not, or what the team expects from you,” Kuldeep said.
“Sometimes you feel that you are deserving to play, can win matches for the team, but you don’t know the reason why you are not playing. The management comes for 2 months with their plans, so that makes it difficult,” he added.
Kuldeep Yadav disappointed with KKR’s handling of him
Since the start of IPL 2019, Kuldeep Yadav has featured in only 14 of KKR’s 35 matches spread over three seasons – a period where other spinners, including Varun Chakravarthy, have jumped up over him in the pecking order and have enjoyed regular chances. Kuldeep played only five games in IPL 2020 and didn’t have a single outing during the Indian leg of the IPL 2021.
The KKR team management may have a legitimate cause to look past Kuldeep in the last two seasons, where he has been expensive, going for 8.66 runs per over in IPL 2019 and 7.66 in IPL 2020 with just five wickets next to his name. But from Kuldeep’s perspective, the only way he can bounce back is by playing more matches and getting the chance to improve his craft in real-game scenarios.
Speaking further on Chopra’s show ahead of the UAE leg of IPL 2021, the 26-year-old wristspinner indicated that it is not so much the lack of opportunities but the absence of proper communication and explanation for being sidelined that is his real bone of contention.
He said the communication channel when he is part of the Indian team is more open and player-friendly than what it is with KKR, who have former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum as head coach and England’s Eoin Morgan as captain.
“In the Indian team they talk to you when you are not selected, but it does not happen in the IPL,” he said. “I remember that I had spoken to the franchise before the IPL but in the matches that happened in the middle, nobody gave me an explanation.”
“I was a bit shocked. I felt like there was no trust, like they had no faith in my skill. This happens when the team has many options. KKR now has plenty of spin bowling options.”
Kuldeep Yadav said talks with the captain are equally important as he can comfortably go up to an Indian skipper and ask him why he isn’t playing. That luxury hasn’t been there under the captaincy of Morgan after he took over from wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik last season. Kuldeep cited the example of Rohit Sharma, the Mumbai Indians (MI) captain and India’s limited-overs vice-captain, to stress home his point.
“Definitely, definitely makes a lot of difference. I don’t know how Eoin Morgan sees me. In such cases, the communication gap increases. When it’s an Indian, you can literally walk up to them and ask why you are not playing,” Kuldeep said.
“Suppose, Rohit Sharma is the captain, you can ask freely on ways to improve, what’s my role in the team but most importantly, the captain should also be interested in what he expects from me,” he concluded.