Backing his case, Kuldeep Yadav reckons it may not be a bad idea to play him in the series-opening day-night Test against Australia, as batsmen often find spinners “difficult to read” under lights.
Kuldeep, who represents Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, will be in reckoning for the day-night match starting December 17 at the Adelaide Oval.
“I feel it’s difficult to read spinners at night, because if a spinner uses variations it’s not always easy to spot the seam position of the ball. That can be an advantage for us,” he told KKR.in.
It will be India’s first day-night Test overseas, having played their maiden one in Kolkata in 2019.
“I have never experienced a pink ball match outside India. So, it will be exciting to see how it goes.”
He added, “It’ll be unfair to say spinners haven’t dominated in Australian conditions, there have been many instances when spinners have done well Down Under. It completely depends on how quickly you adapt to, and read the conditions.
“A lot of us, having played so much T20 cricket of late, will have to be patient when playing Test cricket. Mental toughness is very important.
“When switching to the longer format, you sometimes tend to try too many things too quickly. Wickets don’t come easy in Test cricket, so patience is the key.”
Kuldeep also slammed suggestions that India’s first-ever Test series win in Australia during their last tour was made easy by the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner.
“You need to win Test matches to win a series. We won two of them, and could have won the fourth one too had there been no rain. The criticism holds no merit. Whenever you are playing against a team, your own team’s performance matters the most.
“So instead of looking at the other team – who they have in their squad, and who they don’t – it makes more sense to talk about your own team.”
Kuldeep has so far played six Test matches, including two against Australia. Provided the fast bowlers strike form, India can win again, he said.
“We did well, and hence we won the Test series. If our fast bowling works well and we perform as prolifically with the bat as we did the last time, we will win this time too.
“Yes, their team has now improved with the return of the experienced David Warner, Steve Smith and the likes of Marnus (Labuschagne), who has really done well for them in recent times.
“But last time too, their team was good but we played some really, really good cricket to win. Looking forward to the challenge once again, it’s going to be a great contest.”
Asked about the advice he received from spin legend Shane Warne, whom he idolises, Kuldeep said he had asked him to always wear a smile on his face to hid the “stress”.
“He has shared a lot of valuable inputs about bowling over the years, but mainly, he talks about mental preparation.
“One thing he always insists on is to always wear a smile on my face. He has told me that’s a very important virtue for a spinner. If your face shows any sense of stress, your body language goes for a toss.
“I’ve worked on this specifically and I consider it as one of the best advice I’ve got,” Kuldeep added.
When asked he has set any personal goals on the tour, he responded in the negative.
“Not really… When you play for the country, you are not playing for yourself, there is a much bigger motivation than that.
“Whenever I get a chance, I hope to do my best and if I can win a Test match for my team, that would make me very happy.”