There are some who make an immediate impression. Uttar Pradesh’s left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav is one such cricketer. He has bowled with flight and daring, bounce and two-way spin in the Kalpathi Buchi Babu tournament.
Left-arm wrist spinners — sending down the chinaman that turns into the right-hander and the wrong ’un that spins away — perform a rare and difficult art.
Given the uniqueness of his style, the 18-year-old Kuldeep is among the brightest bowling prospects in the country. A left-arm wrist spinner like him is essentially an attacking, wicket-taking option.
Former India left-arm orthodox spinner Maninder Singh said, “It is very hard to come across a genuine left-arm chinaman bowler. It is because of this that batsmen struggle to pick them.
“I saw a few bowlers of this kind in my younger days but they were converted to left-arm orthodox spinners by coaches since this was thought to be the right way to bowl. A bowler’s natural style should never be tampered with,” he added.
Left-arm orthodox spinners bring with them greater consistency while left-arm wrist spinners are game changers who could be expensive. The angle that a left-arm wrist spinner creates can be hard for both the right-and the left-handed batsmen.
This breed requires the support of the team management and Kuldeep has been backed by Uttar Pradesh coach Gyanendra Pandey and skipper Mohammed Kaif. And the years spent at the NCA have been immensely beneficial.
Bharat Arun, the coach of the Indian under-19 team on its tour of Australia and Sri Lanka this year, told The Hindu: “He is surely India material. I am not exaggerating; he has tremendous variety for someone so young. He bowls the chinaman, the wrong ’un, the flipper and the top-spinner.
“Wrist spin can be very demanding but Kuldeep bowls with control. Down under, the Australians and the New Zealanders had little clue about playing him.
“Then, in Sri Lanka, he bowled beautifully. Initially, he was a little wary of punishment, tended to bowl flat. I told him that in order to get more bounce, he needed to flight the ball. Now, he is bowling with a big heart and his deliveries are well disguised,” said Arun.The road ahead could be arduous and Kuldeep requires to be nurtured.