Indian cricket team had a fantastic 2018 in limited-overs journey as they rose from strength to strength. Skipper Virat Kohli will be a satisfied man in rounding off India’s show as the clock ticks for the ICC World Cup to start in 2019 in May.
India are currently gearing up for a 4-match Test series against hosts Australia, starting December 6. The limited-overs assignment of 2018 is over. The year has been extraordinary for the side in coloured clothing, as both the management and fans will look back happily and be satisfied with the achievements.
India won every series across both T20Is and ODI cricket, barring a loss against England in the 50-over format. And then came the 1-1 series draw in T20Is against Australia just recently.
One player, who has grown from strength to strength and has gained immense respect in the world of cricket, has been none other than Kuldeep Yadav. His infectious wrist spin and bundle of energy often left us in admiring him.
He has been on a different platform and credit goes to him for playing a major role in guiding the team to success. 66 wickets in limited-overs is a wonderful achievement.
Kuldeep was enormous in T20Is
The mysterious spinner enjoyed his best form till date as the year progressed. He was quite a revelation, especially in the shortest format. The year has been wonderful for the player, who ended 2018 as India’s leading wicket-taker in T20Is.
Kuldeep has been dominating every time he stepped on to the field and what was mesmerising to watch was his show in SENA countries. The fairytale started in South Africa. From there on it continued in Europe and now in Australia. He picked 21 wickets in T20Is this year.
The left-armer was the third spinner to pick 20+ wickets in 2018 after Pakistan rising star Shadab Khan (28) and Afghan sensation Rashid Khan (22). But what is even more fathoming is that KD finished with the most impressive economy rate among the top 10 T20I wicket-takers this year.
He hardly set a foot wrong and the rate of 5.97 shows how he controlled his variations and line. Often it was art, the way he spun the ball in conditions that assist pace.
Rankings justify the rewards he deserves
Kuldeep’s solid performance against Australia in the recently concluded three-match series, saw him break into top five in the ICC T20I rankings. He gained a whopping 20 places to claim the third position in the ICC T20I rankings for bowlers released on November 26.
Kuldeep replaced senior England spinner Adil Rashid, who slipped to fourth in the rankings. The Indian bowler was exceptional in the T20Is against Australia and claimed four wickets in three matches. The manner in which he set up Aaron Finch on two occasions, was a delight to watch.
Kuldeep came with a plan and it worked. Even if the rest of the bowlers gave away runs, Kuldeep was at his miser best. His wicket-taking prowess got the Aussies into trouble at crucial moments.
The moment was on the way for KD, who put in the shift consistently. 33 wickets from 17 career T20Is is a no mean effort. He is right up there among the best in the world at the moment. Off late, we have witnessed spinners having a say in T20Is.
Eight spinners feature overall in the top ten rankings. One shouldn’t say more.
Kuldeep was class apart in ODIs
The magical affair for KD started in the rainbow nation of South Africa. 17 wickets from 6 matches against a top quality SA side was a dream start. The many features were added to his bowling. The doosra and the flipper came into existence, which created issues for many batsmen.
The best moment for KD came in Nottingham when India pummelled England in the ODI series opener. His career best 6/25 decimated the Englishmen. One felt that performance finally gave us the indication that KD has finally arrived as a world class bowler.
Against West Indies at home earlier this month, Kuldeep introduced a new weapon in his armoury. At the Eden Gardens, he was seen bowling cross-seam quicker balls. It was quite remarkable to see the youngster grow in confidence.
When one is in his best shape, the urge to try helps them create ways. Kuldeep did the same.The chinaman had finished the five-match ODI series against the Windies as the highest wicket-taker with 9 scalps.
He finished this year with 45 ODI scalps, and was the 2nd highest wicket-taker.
India will fancy their chances with Kuldeep
Come the Odis against Australia Down Under and then at home, India will fancy to sharpen their attack further with KD. There is the 5-match ODIs in New Zealand as well in between. What that will do is help Kuldeep keep his shape ahead of the ICC World Cup in England.
India are one of the favourites to do wonderful things in the coveted event. And with KD in the side, expect the Men in Blue to spread their wings and feel confident. Kuldeep will be helped immensely by his partner Yuzvendra Chahal and the experienced Ravindra Jadeja. Crucial inputs and working in tandem will benefit the team wholly.
There is the experience of MS Dhoni to guide him from behind the stumps as well. So altogether it looks like quite the deal for India, as they will fancy their chances.