Kuldeep Yadav was the toast of the Indian cricket team on Saturday following his successful debut against Australia on Day 1 of the fourth and final Test at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala on Saturday. Introduced as the fifth bowler by stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane, Kuldeep went on to clinch four crucial wickets in his debut match to lead his side off the field after India bowled out Australia for 300 in the first innings. He gave away 68 runs in the 23 overs that he bowled which also included three maidens.
The young chinaman bowler revealed that legendary Shane Warne taught him to bowl the flipper which he used to get his maiden Test wicket of David Warner.
At the start of the Test series in Pune, India chief coach Anil Kumble took Kuldeep to Warne for a session and it paid dividends. Asked about the kind of tips he got from Warne, the 22-year-old's reply brought the house down.
"Did you see the first wicket (that of Warner)? That was not a chinaman. It was a flipper which I learnt from Shane Warne. So learning from Warne and then getting out his countryman is a nice feeling," Kuldeep replied cheekily as everyone had a hearty laugh.
For Kuldeep, it was a dream come true to meet Warne and talk about the art of spin bowling.
"My idol is Shane Warne and I have followed him since my childhood. I only watch his videos and it was a dream-come-true when I met him. I could not believe I was speaking to my idol and sharing my thoughts on bowling and what all I should be doing. I did exactly what he (Warne) told me to do. He has promised that he will have another session with me in near future," said the Kanpur-born.
Kuldeep was brilliant on the field but equally impressive was his spunky answers after the day's play. Questioned about how difficult it was to bowl to centurion Steve Smith, the answer had a lot conviction.
"I bowled to Smith for the first time and I did not have any difficulty as he was not playing any strokes against me. May be he did not want to take any chance against me and was depending on singles. It might be that wickets were falling at the other end, he was being cautious. I was never nervous against Smith," he said.
And then, Kuldeep said something that indicated maturity beyond his years.
"From childhood I have been told that a spinner is someone who would take wickets even if he gets hit. My theory remains the same," he said.
Kuldeep is satisfied that his execution against Glenn Maxwell and Peter Handscomb went as per plan.
"All four are precious scalps but the first one (Warner) is very special. The next two (Handscomb and Maxwell) were satisfying as you got them exactly how you had visualised their dismissals."
Kuldeep earns praise from former cricketers
Kuldeep also received lavish praise from former cricketers for his impressive display.
Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar led the way in praising Kuldeep for the variations he bowled.
"I am impressed with @imkuldeep18's variations and the way he has started. Keep going strong, this can be your match to shine," Tendulkar tweeted.
I am impressed with @imkuldeep18's variations and the way he has started. Keep going strong, this can be your match to shine.— sachin tendulkar (@sachin_rt) March 25, 2017
India batsman Rohit Sharma, who was not considered for the Australia series as he was recovering from a thigh surgery, termed Kuldeep "mystery" spinner.
"New mystery guy in the house @imkuldeep18 #Magical," Rohit tweeted.
Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh tweeted: "Welldone @imkuldeep18 for making a dream debut..magical bowling??????may god be with you.. god bless..keep shining."
Another former India spinner Murali Kartik wrote on Twitter: "Wonderful beginning for a debutant.. 2 very good wickets &the way he has bowled.. Way to go.. God bless #KuldeepYadav."
Wonderful beginnings for a debutant.. 2 very good wickets &the way he has bowled.. Way to go.. God bless #KuldeepYadav— Kartik Murali (@kartikmurali) March 25, 2017
Former Australia captain Michael Clarke was also effusive in his praise of Kuldeep.
"This has been a magnificent spell of bowling from the young man Kuldeep."
This has been a magnificent spell of bowling from the young man Kuldeep— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) March 25, 2017
(With inputs from PTI)