Even after stepping down as the captain of the Indian team in white-ball cricket in 2016, MS Dhoni turned out to be commander-in-chief of his troops in the field.
During the period as a non-captain which culminated until the 2019 ODI World Cup, Dhoni was heard dispensing advice to bowlers from behind the wickets and churning out impromptu plans to take wickets.
While captain Virat Kohli was posted in the deep, Dhoni controlled the game from the middle, setting up fields, and shepherding young bowlers.
India’s wrist-spinning duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, better known as ‘Kulcha’, had greatly benefitted from Dhoni during the period. Now, Kuldeep has opened up on how it’s like in the Indian team without its matador, Dhoni.
“Of course. Mahi bhai has always guided me, because the wicketkeeper is always the best judge of the bowler. Someone like Mahi bhai is experienced and has an idea about how a batsman plays. All of this is teamwork. Just because Mahi bhai hasn’t played after the World Cup, I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. I don’t need to say if I was dependent on him. I can just work towards bettering my craft and as I said, it’s teamwork,” Kuldeep told TOI.
Together with Chahal, the two wristies wreaked havoc in the opposition camp. In 35 ODIs, the ‘KulCha’ combination scalped 65 wickets in ODIs at an average of 22.73, and 22 wickets in 10 T20Is.
“Wrist spin is not that easy. Chahal and I have bonded well for years. After the World Cup we haven’t played together because it depends on the selection and team combination. You’ve got to be flexible with the team’s requirements,” the Chinaman added.
Kuldeep was scheduled to resume his stint with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) slated to commence from March 29. Also, the UP tweaker remained optimistic about the resumption of cricket post-COVID-19 crisis.
“It will be difficult for every bowling unit. It will affect both fast bowlers and spinners because when you get a good shine on the ball, as a spinner it helps you get drift in the air. Not using saliva will be challenging because we have been using it since childhood. It is an instinctive reaction when you get the ball in your hand. Changing that habit will be a challenge.” concluded Kuldeep.