Kuldeep Yadav could lead KKR spin attack in absence of Narine    AFP
Kuldeep Yadav could lead KKR spin attack in absence of Narine AFP

Kolkata: Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav will have “added pressure” in the upcoming Indian Premier League despite his recent impressive showing for India, feels his Kolkata Knight Riders teammate Piyush Chawla. Kuldeep is in his fourth season with the KKR but it’s only in the recent past that he has cemented his place in the Indian team as its go-to spinner along with Yuzvendra Chahal in the limited overs game. Kuldeep took 17 wickets in six matches in South Africa to become the highest wicket taker by an overseas spinner in a bilateral ODI series in that country, surpassing Muttiah Muralitharan’s 14 in 1998.

“The way he’s been bowling for India, it’s been really good. He’s been doing well both in domestic and international cricket. This season there will be added pressure on him,” Chawla, who is also Kuldeep’s Uttar Pradesh teammate in domestic cricket, said. Kuldeep has an ability to soak pressure, something that has reflected in his bowling for India and Chawla feels the chinaman will do well. “When he came into the scene for the first time, he was quite raw and there was not much of expectations from him. But this season, when he enters the field there will be a lot of expectations. He will definitely do well with the kind of bowler he is,” Chawla said on the sidelines of a KKR promotional programme.

KKR’s ‘mystery spinner’ Sunil Narine was once again reported for suspect action during the Pakistan Super League but Chawla backed the West Indian to do well for KKR. “The best thing is the way he comes back after that (reported for suspect action). The effectiveness is the same. It’s just that the team has started playing him a bit on the safer side. When they play you on the safer side, it becomes a bit tough for the bowlers to pick up wickets.

“But at the same time, it is an opportunity for us to take wickets as batsmen take chances against us. So me or Kuldeep, we get chance to pick up wickets. My role will always stay the same — to take wickets. When I joined KKR, Sunil was taking wickets and our combination worked really well.” Chawla said the team was looking forward to playing under the new captain Dinesh Karthik.

“I have not that played much under him. He is one of the experienced campaigners and who has done really well. The way he’s playing right now, the confidence will definitely help him to lead the side well,” Chawla said referring to the Karthik’s last-ball six against Bangladesh in the Tri-nation T20 final in Sri Lanka.

KKR also have roped in three U-19 World Cup winning cricketers in Shubman Gill, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi. “We all have seen their performances while winning the U-19 World Cup. All of them are top level cricketers. Shubman Gill is one amazing talent, and one to look out for. He looks different, the confidence when he walks in is different,” Chawla said, showering praise on Gill.

The programme was also attended by Ishank Jaggi who helped KKR enter the Qualifier 2 by stitching a 36-run stand with then skipper Gautam Gambhir in a rain-affected game in Bengaluru last season.