Gautam Gambhir in action for KKR © PTI
Gautam Gambhir in action for KKR © PTI

Praising skipper Gautam Gambhir for backing youngsters, Kuldeep Yadav said he is blessed to play under the veteran Indian opener. “I feel happy and blessed to be playing under Gauti bhai. He is a very good human being. He not only backs the team but also supports all the youngsters in the side. I feel lucky to be playing under a leader who trusts your abilities. Even when I was not a part of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), he supported me and now of course he keeps backing me to do well,” he said. Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2015: A Statistical Preview

Kuldeep also feels great to have the ‘Sultan of Swing’ Wasim Akram as the bowling coach of KKR. “I share a great rapport with Wasim bhai. I try and grasp whatever I can from his wealth of experience. I keep talking to him on the field, talking about his various experiences in his playing days. He is always happy to share his knowledge. The talk is not really centered around bowling in particular, but he tells about how he would react to a particular situation and that really helps,” he said. KKR in IPL 2015, Preview: A well-balanced unit with a hunger for success

Coming into Indian Premiere League (IPL) on the back of a good domestic season, Kuldeep rued missing the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament knockouts but is happy to take the momentum forward into the popular T20 league. “Look Syed Mushtaq Ali is a perfect lead up to the IPL as it gives the players a good T20 feel before the mega league kicks off. Yes, the spacing between the two tournaments can be improved but I guess the scheduling is such that it gives little scope for organisers to do something about it. The Ranji Trophy ends and then Syed Mushtaq Ali starts and then there is IPL. But I am happy about it and enjoying every bit of it.” Pledge taken by Indian cricket journalists to improve reporting, chronicling and recounting the game

Knowing the importance of wielding the willow at the right time in the shortest format of the game, Kuldeep insists that he is working hard to be a handy batsman whenever the team requires his services. “Obviously, batting plays a big part in T20 cricket. I am certainly improving my batting skills by the day, Recently I hit an 8-ball 20 not out in Syed Mushtaq Ali. Though in T20 cricket, the No.8 or 9 doesn’t get much batting and if your No.9 is at the crease then it means the team is in trouble,” he signed off. Sachin Tendulkar to play for MI against KKR