'Familiarity with Eden was a big advantage'

'Familiarity with Eden was a big advantage'

Kuldeep Yadav. Reuters

Familiarity with conditions at the Eden Gardens was a massive advantage, said chinaman Kuldeep Yadav after bowling India to a five-wicket win over the West Indies in the first T20 International here.

Kuldeep was aware that the ball would grip and not turn much as he returned with man-of-the-match figures of 3/13 to restrict West Indies for a small 109/8 en route to an emphatic win on Sunday night.

"It is a massive, massive advantage when you have played a lot of matches at a venue," Kuldeep said at the post-match news conference.

Bowling in tandem with debutant Krunal Pandya, the 23-year-old snared the wickets of Darren Bravo, Rovman Powell and skipper Carlos Brathwaite to reduce Windies to 63/7 inside 15 overs.

"You know the wicket, the outfield and even the angles. That gives you a lot of confidence. I know for instance that if you vary your pace on this surface you will get your reward. It helps a lot and gives me immense confidence," said Kuldeep, who also completed 100 wickets in T20 cricket.

The Kanpur-born Kuldeep was handed an Indian Premier League contract in 2012 by the Mumbai Indians, but he failed to make the playing XI in his debut season, despite making headlines for beating Sachin Tendulkar with a wrong one at the nets.

Transferred to Kolkata Knight Riders two years later, Kuldeep warmed the bench in their second IPL-winning campaign, only to make debut in a Champions League match against Lahore Lions in Hyderabad on September 21, 2014.

Since then the left-arm unorthodox spinner has become a vital cog in KKR's attack and formed a formidable pair with Yuzvendra Chahal in the limited overs set-up.

Kuldeep also shared his knowledge with debutant left-arm spin all-rounder Krunal Pandya during a partnership that stymied whatever hopes the West Indies had of a revival.

"He came on in the seventh over and I in the eighth. The only chat we had was that the wicket was not offering turn but the ball was gripping," he said.

Yadav came up with a special trick when he bowled a front-of-the-hand delivery at speeds clocking more than 100 kmph.

Kuldeep, who had started off with left-arm pace bowling in his formative years, said the technique has been a work in progress since his under-19 days.

"It's been four-five years since I started bowling this delivery at the nets. Sometimes, in the last series as well, I bowled a couple of these.

"I am getting confident with this delivery and using it in match situations as well. In T20 cricket you have to bowl such deliveries to break the rhythm of the batsmen... It can make the batsman pause," he revealed.