India vs England Test: Kuldeep Yadav reveals what R Ashwin told him while leaving field

Kuldeep Yadav and Ravi Ashwin shared an emotional moment after England got all out

Kuldeep Yadav India's Kuldeep Yadav celebrates his five-wicket-haul | Reuters

Kuldeep Yadav and Ravi Ashwin shared an emotional moment after England got all out shortly after tea. Considering Ashwin is playing his 100th Test, Kuldeep wanted him to keep the ball and his more experienced wanted the other way round. The premier off-spinner cleaned up with the tail with a four-wicket haul.

On that exchange, he said: "Ash bhai told me I have 35 balls, and asked me to keep this one."

Take a bow, Kuldeep!

A regular place in the playing eleven during the ongoing series has done wonders for Kuldeep Yadav. The left-arm wrist spinner believes that he has got more sharper with better game awareness due to consistent opportunities.

Kuldeep in the past seven years since his debut has only made 12 Test appearances, with four of them on trot in the current series against England. On the opening day of the fifth Test against England, Kuldeep set the ball rolling with five top-order wickets.

"If you play regularly, you get more confident about your bowling. Game awareness also comes with it. It is very important to keep playing regularly as it makes your bowling sharp," said the 29-year-old, who now has 17 wickets in the series with hopefully one more innings to increase his tally.

"In the beginning, it was very challenging. I had changed my action. It took six to eight months to find that rhythm. Now, things are all set and I am enjoying it. In Ranchi, I tried something with my run-up (faster approach to the crease as it was a slow surface), and I practise that regularly."

Kuldeep bowled a highly productive 15-over spell on either side of the lunch break on day one, something he says he has been able to do of late purely because of his improved fitness.

Following a knee surgery in September 2021, Kuldeep changed his fitness routine, increased his pace and straightened his run-up.

After a five-wicket haul that helped India bowl out England for 218 on a flat track, Kuldeep said it is only because his targeted fitness regimen that he has been able to make those changes and bowl long spells.

"Bowling is all about fitness. I have worked a lot on my fitness in the last 18 months. I have been able to make certain changes in my bowling because of improved fitness," Kuldeep said at the day-end media conference.

"I am doing specific things on my fitness which is allowing me to bowl long spells. At Rajkot (12 overs in first innings) and Ranchi (14 overs in second innings) also, I bowled log spells. I have gotten used to it."

Kuldeep has been getting more bite from flat surfaces compared to the other spinners and that was also evident on Thursday when he got the ball to drift and turn back sharply to castle Zak Crawley. The ball turned from the imaginary fifth off-stump and ended up shattering the England opener's leg stump.

"I was using the drift well on both sides. I am very happy that we were able to get them out for 218 as it is a good wicket. As a spinner, you focus on the length and try to hit good length.

"At times, you change plans as per conditions. If you are getting drift, then you have to think about the lines as well. The more you play, the easier it becomes to control.

"Speed also matters. If you bowl at a certain speed and change your pace, it gets difficult for the batters," said the cricketer from Kanpur.

- With PTI inputs

Join our WhatsApp Channel to get the latest news, exclusives and videos on WhatsApp