5 reasons why Kuldeep Yadav hasn’t performed well: Kolkata Knight Riders chinaman bowler has returned with dismal figures so far.
With chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav regularly playing for India in limited-overs formats, expecting him to yield positive results for his Indian Premier League franchise Kolkata Knight Riders wasn’t too much to ask of him. Despite the presence of senior spinners in Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine, Yadav was expected to lead the attack in terms of performance but was not to be.
In the nine matches which Yadav played for Knight Riders before being benched vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, he picked up four wickets at an average of 71.50, an economy rate of 8.66 and a strike rate of 49.50. A potentially wicket-taking spinner remaining wicket-less in six (out of nine) matches is bound to hurt any team and KKR are duly hurt!
For a spinner doing well in the IPL and not being able to replicate his performance at the international level is understandable. However, a lot of curious minds conduct investigations into a successful bowler across formats at the highest level not being able to deliver in the IPL.
In what appears to be a quintessential case of a cricketer going through a dip in form, there aren’t many incontestable reasons behind the same.
Upon comparing Yadav’s IPL 2019 numbers with the numbers of his last six T20Is (11 wickets in six matches at an average of 12.45, an economy rate of 5.70 and a strike rate of 13), below are five reasons which have done the rounds across debates regarding the Knight Rider looking clueless so far.
5 reasons why Kuldeep Yadav hasn’t performed well
Absence of MS Dhoni
There have been numerous murmurs on Yadav missing India wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps. There is no hiding to the certitude that it is Dhoni who primarily suggests the Indian spinners on how and where to bowl during limited-over matches.
Having said that, the same can be ruled out with concrete evidence in the form of Yadav’s T20I numbers with and without the 37-year old cricketer keeping wickets.
In the 12 T20Is which Kuldeep has played with Dhoni also in the Playing XI, he has picked 23 wickets at an average of 14.21, an economy rate of 7.26 and a strike rate of 11.7. In his remaining six T20Is (without Dhoni), he has picked 12 wickets at an average of 10.58, an economy rate of 5.64 and a strike rate of 11.2.
It is evident from Yadav’s numbers that he has done better in Dhoni’s absence than in his presence at the highest level.
Another facet which has been held responsible behind Yadav’s below par performance is the “dew factor”. With several matches being affected by dew, there have been talks of the same not coming good for Yadav.
Out of the nine matches, Kuldeep bowled in the second innings on five occasions (thrice in Kolkata and once in Chennai and Delhi each). It is the second innings where the natural phenomena predominantly calls the shots.
Why the prospects of dew affecting Yadav are minimal is because it doesn’t predominantly play a spoilsport in Kolkata during the IPL. While Yadav registered bowling figures of 4-0-16-0 at Chennai, it was him who defended six runs in the final over against Delhi Capitals at Delhi, two venues where dew has made its presence felt.
Out of Kuldeep’s last six T20Is, two had come against West Indies at home, three against Australia in Australia and one against New Zealand in New Zealand. There can be an argument on him bowling against better batsmen in the IPL than international cricket.
In these T20Is, Yadav had bowled against the likes of Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Rovman Powell, Carlos Brathwaite, Fabian Allen, Denesh Ramdin, Keemo Paul, Aaron Finch, Chris Lynn, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Craig McDermott, Alex Carey, Nathan Coulter-Nile, D’Arcy Short, Colin Munro, Tim Seifert and Kane Williamson.
There is no denying that the list contains some stellar names but there are a majority of players who are not good batsmen of spin bowling, especially chinaman.
On the contrary, Yadav has bowled in majority to Indian batsmen during the IPL. Since Mayank Agarwal, David Miller, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Jos Buttler, Steven Smith, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan and Moeen Ali are comparatively better players of spin, perhaps it could be the reason behind Yadav not doing well.
Pattern of bowling
In the above mentioned six T20Is for India, Yadav bowled his four overs on the trot on four occasions under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. On the remaining two occasions, Yadav’s first spell was a three-over spell followed by his last over later in the innings.
Under Dinesh Karthik at Kolkata Knight Riders, Yadav bowled his full quota in one go on a mere one occasion (out of nine matches). The only occasion was against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Kolkata when Yadav ended up conceding 59 runs in his four overs.
Most runs conceded by spinners in an IPL match:
59 – Imran Tahir, Delhi v MI, Vizag, 2016
59 – Kuldeep Yadav, KKR v RCB, Kolkata, 2019*#KKRvsRCB
— Umang Pabari (@UPStatsman) April 19, 2019
Much like Sharma and Kohli, Karthik did introduce Yadav between overs 7-9 in every match. However, inconsistency in persisting with him perhaps costed all Karthik, Kuldeep and Kolkata. One can write in Karthik’s defense that every captain has his own way but taking a leaf out of someone’s book can turn out of handy for you, at times.
Having made his IPL debut in 2016, IPL 2019 is Yadav’s fourth IPL season. With 17 wickets in 16 matches at an average of 24.58, an economy rate of 8.14 and a strike rate of 18.11 in IPL 2018, it was Kuldeep’s best IPL season.
Having registered economy rates of 8.33 and 8.29 and in 2016 and 2017 respectively, once comes to the conclusion that the left-arm wrist-spinner has always been on the expensive side in the tournament. However, it was him dismissing opposition batsmen in previous seasons which didn’t affect the team as much it is doing this season.
Perhaps, it is him bring striped of wickets which made the team management to take the bold decision of dropping him in the previous match.
Dinesh Karthik on Kuldeep Yadav
While addressing Kuldeep Yadav’s ouster lately, Karthik has used the terms like “breadth of fresh air” and “break”. Knowingly or unknowingly, a “break” might just be something which the 24-year old cricketer needed to get his act together.
Been on the road for a while, for all we know, Yadav required some time-off from the game to himself understand what clicked for him in the first place and what exactly is missing from his armoury this season.
Unsure of whether Yadav will feature in today’s match against Rajasthan Royals at Jaipur or not, here is hoping for him to get back on track soon for he will be a vital cog in the wheel for India during the imminent ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.