Playing in Mushtaq Ali helped me prepare better for SA: Kuldeep


Kolkata, Jan 22: South Africa-bound chinaman Kuldeep Yadav on Monday said he is in good rhythm ahead of the six ODIs and three T20 internationals there after playing six matches in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament.

"So far it has been good. I have played the full T20 season (Syed Mushtaq Ali). My rhythm is good so hopefully I will be able to continue bowling well there as well," Kuldeep told reporters after Uttar Pradesh's 75-run win over Bengal at the Eden Gardens in a Group B Super League match.

Kuldeep returned best figures of 4/26 after Suresh Raina struck a belligerent 126 not out batting first, at an excellent strike-rate of 139.09 to put up a mammoth 235/2. In reply, Bengal could only manage 160 all out.

In this competition, he has so far bagged seven wickets in six matches.

Asked how important is this tournament for him, now that the 23-year old is a regular member of the Indian team, Kuldeep said: "Every game here is important as an individual and as a team. The team needs you and it is a matter of pride to play for the state always. The state has given you everything so I came to play.

"It also gives you good match practice as you get to play against big players. Practice sessions are also good."

Kuldeep's previous India appearance was against Sri Lanka in December in the last T20 game in Mumbai. He is not part of the Test team currently playing in South Africa.

Quizzed about his fighting back instincts and not shying away from bowling aggressively despite leaking runs, Kuldeep said in T20 cricket the main aim should be taking wickets and he is the kind of bowler who always looks for that.

"You will leak runs in T20 cricket. T20 is all about how many wickets you take. Wickets help the team in this format. When there is a score of 230 plus on the board, you know the opposition will go for scoring runs. My style is always taking wickets and I always look to take wickets and not restrict runs. If I look to restrict runs, I can end up conceding more maybe," Kuldeep said.

The Kanpur lad is scheduled to leave for home on Tuesday and from there he will fly to South Africa.

Looking leaner, Kuldeep said he has been working on his fitness for the last two years as that is a must playing for the national team.

"When you are playing for India you have to be fit. Also if you want to survive for a long time, fitness is very important. I have been working a lot on my fitness for the last two years. Hopefully, I will become fitter by the day."

On Raina's superb knock, Kuldeep added: "He was not hitting a purple patch in this tournament but today against Bengal who have good fast bowlers, Raina has done exceedingly well and helped the team win."

Kuldeep signed off by saying he always feels at home at the Eden Gardens where he has played for five years donning the jersey of the Kolkata Knight Riders.

"It's been five years with KKR. It is like family and this is like a home ground for me. I know the angles from where to bowl and I am well-versed with the wicket as well.

"There is not pressure here as I have played here for five years. This has been a lucky ground for me," he said.



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