Kuldeep says he owes a lot to Gambhir, Akram and Brad Hogg

Last Updated: Sunday, 26 April 2020 (15:45 IST)
Kolkata: Team India spinner has said former captain and Bowling coach and Australian spin bowler gave him confidence by assuring him of a place in the team in his early years at Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
(Photo: Twitter)
“All these guys have always been very close to me, and from the beginning of my career, they have encouraged and pushed me to become a better version of myself,” Kuldeep said in an interaction with KKR website.
“Gauti bhai (Gautam Gambhir) had a huge influence on me from the start of my stint at KKR. He always spoke to me a lot. Not only during the time he was at KKR, but even after that, over these last two years,” he said.
“He always kept me motivated. Before the 2014 CLT20, he gave me a lot of confidence by telling me “You’ll play every game, just keep putting in the kind of effort you have shown.” When you get that kind of confidence from your captain, it becomes a huge plus point for any player. It helps you remain confident, and that translates into good performances,” Kuldeep said.
“Wasim (Akram) sir used to like me a lot too. He didn’t speak much about bowling, but he prepared me a lot in terms of mentally taking on the game. He prepared me to take on different situations in different ways, and taught me how to react when batsmen put you under pressure,” the Team India Spinner said.
“When he was at KKR, I used to sit with him and pick his brains a lot. I used to sit next to him in the dugout during matches and ask questions about real-time situations. I used to ask him what he would have done in certain situations, and he would test me by asking me what my approach would have been. So apart from Gauti bhai, he was someone who had a big influence on me during those early years. He also has a very good sense of humour, so it was great having him around,” Kuldeep said.
“As a chinaman bowler, it was great to have someone like Brad Hogg in the team as well. He showed me a lot of things like controlling the speed of the ball, variations etc. I always thought the wrong-uns he bowled were so, so good. I learnt about combining pace and turn from him. He showed me how to release a wrong-un correctly, and how to trouble batsmen by varying the pace on the delivery. Even after he stopped playing in the IPL, I met him on our tours to Australia. In fact, I was speaking to Brad Hogg just 4-5 days ago, I hope to catch up with him on Instagram soon,” he said. (UNI)