Growing up in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, Kuldeep Yadav had humble beginnings but harboured an immense passion for cricket. Initially a pace bowler, Yadav's career took an interesting turn when his coach Kapil Pandey advised him to switch to left-arm wrist spin. This decision proved to be a turning point as Yadav showcased his talents in the 2014 Under-19 World Cup where he emerged as the leading wicket-taker and became the first Indian player to achieve a hat-trick at this level.
Representing Uttar Pradesh in domestic competitions, Yadav consistently took wickets with his deceptive variations. His impressive performances caught the attention of selectors and earned him a Test debut against Australia in 2017. In that match, he made an immediate impact with his prodigious spin and claimed four crucial wickets. Later that year, during the West Indies tour, Yadav made his ODI debut and quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with by becoming the joint-highest wicket-taker.
Yadav's career is marked by several notable achievements. One of his most memorable moments came against Australia when he achieved a hat-trick and joined Kapil Dev and Chetan Sharma as the only Indians to accomplish this feat. Consistently picking up wickets with his deceptive variations and flighted deliveries, Yadav has played a crucial role in India's success across formats. He has registered impressive scores and records while bamboozling batsmen with his unique style of bowling.
What sets Kuldeep Yadav apart from other spinners is his left-arm wrist spin, often referred to as "Chinaman" bowling. This style allows him to turn the ball both ways, making it extremely challenging for batsmen to read his deliveries. His repertoire includes well-disguised googlies, flippers, and wrong'uns that keep the opposition guessing. With such a wide range of variations, Yadav's bowling becomes an intriguing puzzle for even the most experienced batsmen.
Like any cricketer, Yadav has faced his fair share of ups and downs. He experienced a decline in performance due to struggles with form and injuries. However, he made a strong comeback in Test cricket against Bangladesh in 2022. Picking up eight wickets in the match, he was instrumental in India's victory and deservedly earned the Player of the Match award. This resurgence showcased Yadav's determination and resilience.
Yadav has gained respect within the team due to his eagerness to learn from senior players. Although he hasn't cemented his spot as a regular yet, he remains a valuable spin option for India across all formats. With youth on his side, there is ample potential for him to continue growing as a player and achieve further milestones in his career.
Kuldeep Yadav's journey from humble beginnings to international cricket is truly inspiring. As a talented left-arm wrist spinner with unique variations and control, he has showcased significant achievements throughout his career so far – including a Test hat-trick against Australia – while contributing consistently to India's success across formats. Yadav's story serves as a testament to hard work, determination, and perseverance on the path to success in professional cricket.