The 19-year-old left-arm chinaman bowler was today picked in the Indian squad to face West Indies in the first three ODIs.
It was a surprise choice by the selection committee led by Sandeep Patil. Before September 20, Kuldeep was not known by many cricket fans. But all that changed in his debut for KKR on September 21 at Hyderabad.
Kuldeep took 1/21 in 4 overs against Lahore Lions in CLT20 but should have added more wickets. He impressed one and all with his bowling.
Even former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, on commentary for CLT20, had said the selectors needed to watch out for this boy. The selectors seemed to have heard the legend's words and have picked the youngster now.
Born in Kanpur, Kuldeep was a part of the India Under-19 team at the ICC World Cup this year in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He had taken a hat-trick against Scotland in Dubai during the World Cup.
Kuldeep is yet to play a 50-over game at the senior level and also has no first-class cricket experience.
In world cricket, chinaman bowlers are a rare breed. Australian Brad Hogg, who too is a chinaman, was in action during the CLT20 in India. He played for Australia in 7 Tests, 123 ODIs and 15 T20Is. At 43, Hogg still plays the shortest format.
In India, there are plenty of spinners but chinaman are rare. Maybe this is the reason why selectors backed Kuldeep, to unleash a surprise package against the West Indies.
KKR captain Gautam Gambhir described Kuldeep as a "special talent".
Kuldeep was also with the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL) but never got a chance to showcase his talent.
However, the youngster was quoted as saying that he bowled Sachin Tendulkar in the 'nets'. "Sachin (Tendulkar) paaji didn't know I was a chinaman bowler no one in the team did, except coach Shaun Pollock. It was the stock ball. It pitched outside off and turned in sharply. Took him by surprise," Kuldeep told "The Indian Express" last year.
Kuldeep has said that he started off as a fast bowler but was forced to switch to spin by his coach Kapil Pandey.
"I always wanted to be a fast bowler. When I went for the trial for a local academy, the coach, Kapil Pandey, saw me and my father and thought I wasn't going to be tall enough for a fast bowler. He insisted that I bowl slow. I don't know why - perhaps I was angry at having to bowl spin - but I ended up bowling unorthodox," he told the newspaper. "I even cried after the change," he said recently to "PTI" news agency.
He said he has modelled his action on Australian spin legend Shane Warne and has alsot learnt a lot by watching Hogg.
The youngster praised his captain Gambhir for motivating him.
"Gauti bhai always motivates me during the nets. Even during a match he supports me. He is a very attacking captain and backs all the youngsters in the team and it feels nice when a senior players supports," he told "PTI".
Recalling his days with Mumbai Indians, Kuldeep revealed that he felt like a junior player there but he was enjoying his stint now with KKR.
"I always felt like a junior player in the Mumbai Indians camp. I was just 17 and things were very different then. In KKR everybody treats you the same. Of course I got my break in the XI a little late and that was understandable as KKR has got a lot of world class spin options like Sunil Narine, Yusuf Pathan and Shakib Al Hasan. But I have learnt a lot just being part of the purple brigade," he said.
Facts on Kuldeep Yadav
- Age: 19 years
- Date of Birth: December 14, 1994
- Bowling style - Slow left-arm chinaman
- First-class matches - 0
- 50-over matches at senior level - 0
- Twenty20s - 8; Wickets - 14
- Matches for KKR (As on October 3, 2014) - 4 (all in CLT20)
- Was a part of India Under-19 team at the World Cup in 2014
- Plays for Uttar Pradesh (UP)
- T20 debut for UP - March, 2014
- T20 debut for KKR - September 21, 2014
- 4 T20s for UP