Kandy: Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav on Wednesday said he hopes his hard work would be rewarded with a place in the Indian team for their third Test against Sri Lanka.
Kuldeep is competing with Axar Patel who has been flown in after Ravindra Jadeja was suspended.
"Obviously there is excitement. I was excited to play my debut Test as well. So if I get a chance to play in Sri Lanka, I will be very happy because this will be a result of my hard work. While I am excited, I am also nervous because I want to perform," Kuldeep said after India's training session here in Pallekele.
"You cannot walk into the team so easily, and you have to wait; that's the rule of cricket," he said.
"It is good that I have worked with them (R. Ashwin) and (Jadeja), and I have been in the team with them for last six-seven months. So I have got to learn a lot from them, especially playing Test cricket with them. You gain experience like this and it helps in the future. I try to stay with them mostly and keep talking to them; they help me a lot," Kuldeep said.
Kuldeep took the cricket world by storm on his debut in Dharamsala, returning figures of 4/68 in the first innings against Australia. Since then, the 22-year old has been waiting in the wings for his second opportunity.
Kuldeep said skipper Virat Kohli has been very supportive and he is confident of doing well if given a chance.
"If the captain believes in you, then you have done half your work.
"Captain's belief is very important, and Virat bhai supports me a lot. He supported me completely in the West Indies, and the way he talks to the players on the ground, the way he spoke to me in the ODIs, it felt very nice because the captain's confidence is the biggest thing for a player."
Kuldeep said working with bowling coach Bharat Arun has been a boon in the national team as he has worked with him during his junior cricket days also.
"I have been working with Bharat Arun for the past 10 years," he said, "ever since I was playing in Under-16, in Under-19 also. I share a lot of things with him, and he tells me a lot about bowling as well. He has been seeing me ever since I was a junior cricketer, and he knows what to do and what not to do. It is very easy to work with him so I am happy to continue to work with him."
One of the challenges the duo of Kuldeep and Arun will have to overcome is the Sri Lanka batsmen's strategy to keep sweeping the spinners. Kuldeep recognises the challenge, but also sees an opportunity in it. "(Kusal) Mendis and (Dimuth) Karunaratne batted very well in the last Test, they played the sweep very well," he said.
"It is difficult for spinners if the batsmen are playing the sweep so effectively. It becomes easy for the batsmen and tougher for the spinner, so my plan is to try and control that shot. But playing the sweep also means a lot of chances, so if you plan even a little bit, it can get you wickets."
About his Test debut, Kuldeep recalled: "In my head I wasn't thinking who I am playing against, whether Australia or New Zealand, I was only thinking about taking as many wickets as possible. I just wanted to show what skill I have. And that is what I did. Anil (Kumble) sir and Ajinkya (Rahane) bhai both told me to just enjoy my bowling and do what I do in nets or what I have been doing since childhood."
India have sealed the three-match series 2-0 and third Test is from Saturday.
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