Kuldeep Yadav has said he learnt the art of reading pitches and setting fields from former India captain MS Dhoni.
“When I started my career, I wasn’t good at reading the pitch. I learnt about this aspect after I started playing with MS Dhoni. He would often tell me when I needed to spin the ball or where I needed to pitch it," Kuldeep told Deep Dasgupta in the third episode of ESPNcricinfo Cricketbaazi.
“Dhoni was very good at setting the field as well. That’s why I never paid attention to field placement when I bowled with Dhoni keeping the wicket. He would understand where the batsman could try to hit me and set the field accordingly. It helped me bowl with more confidence.
“This is something I learnt from him and since the time he has not played ODI cricket, this has gone missing as well."
Kuldeep said he is now matured enough to set his own field, and credited Kohli for believing in youngsters like him.
“Today, when I come to bowl, I set my own field. Sometimes you go wrong if the captain is saying one thing and you have something else in mind. But you learn from these things. I appreciate Virat Kohli for this. He has always backed me. He believes in all the youngsters gives them full freedom. That’s one of the reasons why Chahal and I have had a successful partnership," he explained.
“Kohli believes that we can win matches for India. When your captain shows faith in you, your frame of mind improves and it makes everything easy. To Kohli, it doesn’t matter if I concede 65-70 runs in my ten overs but pick up three wickets. He is happy."
The left-arm wrist spinner spoke about his spin partnr Yuzvendra Chahal, calling him an ‘elder brother’.
“He has always taken care of me, like an elder brother. Even now, after playing so many matches together, even off the field, he gives me advice on cricket as well as off cricket," he said.
“He supports me, and this bond is visible on the field as well. We’ve never had competition between us, irrespective of which of us gets picked to play. In the last year or so, only one of us has gotten to play at a time. I feel happy when he plays and performs well.
“He always used to say that we have to pick up three or four wickets in the middle overs. This has always been our plan and it used to be easy when MS Dhoni was behind the stumps."