Kuldeep may have anticipated the question coming (he didn’t show it) but when the inevitable happened two minutes into his pre-match presser in Guwahati, he calmly stared at the microphone placed before him and said: “I don’t think about replacements,” before adding: “We Chahal and me are very young and have plenty of cricket to play. There’s no way we’ll think about these things.”
Kuldeep, 22, is at the heart of India’s mini-metamorphosis of ideologies. From safety first to uber-attacking. In the first T20I at Ranchi, he came on to bowl when Aaron Finch had given Australia an eight-runs-per-over start in the PowerPlay.
“I am no mystery bowler that I’m doing tricks with the hand. Obviously, it becomes easy after 2-3 years. They’ll begin picking you after playing you for a while. As long as your basics are fine, your alignment and accuracy is good, the easier it is [to enjoy continued success].”
Kuldeep comes armed with plans of his own every time he is called upon to bowl. At various stages in this series, he’s had a partner whose ideas he finds easy to relate to while bowling in-tandem. In Ranchi, there was a quick exchange of notes at mid-on between Kuldeep and spin partner Yuzvendra Chahal before Kuldeep was brought into the attack. “We have quite a good partnership,” he said about the blossoming bond. “It’s easy on the ground, we talk about how the wicket is and how it behaves. So there is a good understanding. Even in the games, we bowl in partnerships You can see its impact.
“I ask Chahal also what is happening on the wicket upon release. If the wicket is turning, or if it is skidding through while bowling. These discussions keep happening. We keep thinking about batsmen, how he is playing and what his plans may be. These discussions are useful for me and the team,” he revealed.