Kuldeep Yadav delivered a stellar performance on his 29th birthday, securing a five-wicket haul in the third T20I against South Africa. This achievement marked him as the first male cricketer to achieve such a feat on his birthday in T20 internationals.
Kuldeep’s remarkable bowling also established him as the first Indian spinner with two five-wicket hauls in T20Is, a significant milestone in his career. Despite his individual success, Kuldeep expressed that the most significant gift came from captain Suryakumar Yadav, who equaled a T20I record by scoring his fourth century. Suryakumar’s explosive century set the stage for India’s total of 201 for 7, leading to a convincing victory over South Africa.
Kuldeep highlighted the pleasure of witnessing Suryakumar’s exceptional batting, considering it the most valuable gift on his birthday. Reflecting on the match and his personal performance, Kuldeep expressed satisfaction with his rhythm and effectiveness in the spin-friendly conditions. He credited the team’s collective effort in securing the win, emphasizing the importance of contributing to the team’s success.
Additionally, Kuldeep noted that the South African pitches, traditionally known for pace and bounce, surprisingly favored spinners during the ongoing series. He acknowledged the challenges posed by the wickets, emphasizing the need for varied variations to outsmart the batsmen. The left-arm spinner discussed his journey back to the field after overcoming a knee injury and undergoing surgery in 2021.
Kuldeep elaborated on the adjustments made to his bowling technique, focusing on being more aggressive, bowling straighter, and refining his length. He credited the support of his teammates and highlighted the initial difficulty in coping with the loss in the ODI World Cup final to Australia. However, he emphasized the resilience required in cricket, learning from setbacks, and implementing those lessons in future matches.