“Everyone had planned a lot in the meeting over how to get him out”

Indian left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav described Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka’s wicket in the second ODI in Kolkata as a very important one, considering the form that he was in. He also revealed that there was a lot of discussion over how to get Shanaka out prior to the game.

Aggressive right-handed batter Shanaka has been a thorn in India’s flesh in white-ball cricket over the last few seasons. He has been in amazing form with the willow in the ongoing series as well. However, Kuldeep bowled the Sri Lankan captain for two in the Kolkata ODI on Thursday, January 12.

The 28-year-old was Player of the Match for his impressive figures of 3/51. Apart from Shanaka, he also dismissed Kusal Mendis (34) and Charith Asalanka (15). In a post-match interaction with Yuzvendra Chahal on Chahal TV, Kuldeep was asked which among the three was his favorite wicket. He replied:

“Dasun Shanaka’s wicket has been very important because he was batting very well in the series and he is in form as well. It was very important wicket from a team perspective.

“He has an idea about how well he his batting and has been taking the game deep. Everyone had planned a lot in the meeting over how to get him out. So definitely that was an important wicket.”

Shanaka attempted to sweep Kuldeep in the second ODI, but missed his stroke and saw his leg stump being pegged back. In his four previous innings on the tour, he had registered scores of 45, 56*, 23, and 108*.

“Focus was to bowl on good length” – Kuldeep Yadav

Kuldeep has plenty of bowling experience at Eden Gardens, having previously been part of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the IPL.

Asked about his plans for the second ODI, he stated that his focus was to maintain a good length and not allow the batters to break free. While speaking in a video posted on bcci.tv, he elaborated

“Focus was to bowl on good length. Have played a lot in Eden, wickets are not that good for spinners. So my thinking was to stay on a good length and not give a lot of room. When I gave some room, I conceded runs on the cut.

“I wanted to bowl wicket-to-wicket and bring in the variations from there. Because of my aggressive rhythm, I have got that pace. As a result, batters were not getting that much time to decide on whether to come forward or go back.”

Over the course of his three-wicket haul, Kuldeep also completed 200 wickets in international cricket. On how he felt about reaching the landmark, the 28-year-old said:

“Getting 200 wickets is a big thing in international cricket. Proud, but I don’t know what to say since the record just popped up.”

Incidentally, Kuldeep was Player of the Match in his previous international game as well – the Chattogram Test against Bangladesh. He claimed eight wickets and scored 40 runs, but was shockingly dropped for the next Test.

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Edited by Renin Wilben Albert

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