WI vs Ind – 1st ODI – Kuldeep Yadav on competing with Yuzvendra Chahal: ‘We’re very relaxed’

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Since the 2019 World Cup, though, India have become reluctant to use their wristspinners in tandem. While they’ve fielded either Kuldeep or Chahal in 51 ODIs, they’ve unleashed both of them only three times, and picked neither of them on four occasions.

It’s been a challenging situation, but their relationship, according to Kuldeep, hasn’t suffered for it.

“We’re very relaxed,” he said after picking up 4 for 6 in the first ODI against West Indies in Bridgetown on Thursday. “We know the combination matters a lot. Sometimes he plays, sometimes I play, and our understanding is very good. We’re very normal.

“He helps me a lot when I play, he tells me what I can do, what I can change. He always wants me to do well. When he plays I do the same thing, so that when he plays he performs well for the team. Maybe this is why the Kul-Cha partnership has worked so well over the years. We support and back each other.”

Kuldeep has impressive records in all three formats, but such is India’s depth of spin resources that he’s sat out 184 of their 302 matches since his international debut. He says he understands the situation and is used to dealing with it.

“You often have to sit outside because of the situation or the combination,” he said. “It’s become a normal thing. I’ve been playing cricket for such a long time – it’s been six, six-and-a-half years [since my debut] and a lot of things have become normal.

“I pay more attention to the work I need to put in, and my bowling, [so that I can perform] whenever I get a chance. I’m very relaxed when I don’t play, because there’s no pressure of performing on the ground. When you play there’s pressure, but at the same time it’s the pressure of doing well. You’re playing for a big team, you’re playing for India, you have so many people watching you, following you, so you want to perform at your best.”