India's rising star, spinner Kuldeep Yadav, believes he is battle-ready for any surface that a rival cricket power can lay out for him. Kuldeep, who claimed a hat-trick in India's triumphant one-day series against Australia, has become a household name at 22 and with only a handful internationals matches to his name. The road to the top, however, was rather rocky for the chinaman. When not picked Uttar Pradesh's under-15 team, Kuldeep, a 13-year-old at the time, contemplated not just quitting the game but also ending his life.
"I had worked hard for my selection, but when I was not picked, I mentioned suicide in frustration. It happens to everyone in the heat of the moment," he told Hindustan Times.
Kuldeep made his mark in the Indian Premier League with the Kolkata Knight Riders.
The latest addition to India's rich spin tradition made an instant impact with four wickets in his debut Test against Australia in Dharamsala this year.
He impressed in Sri Lanka in September and then bamboozled Australian batsmen, including star opener David Warner, with his wrist spin, winning many more fans.
Kuldeep grew up watching videos of spin legend Shane Warne and still calls the Aussie great his reference point in learning the rare art.
Warne recently compared Kuldeep to Pakistan's established Test spinner Yasir Shah, saying the Indian can become "the best leg-spinner" if he remains patient.
Kuldeep has formed a partnership with leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and they are now India's preferred option over Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in limited-overs cricket.
(With inputs from AFP)