The rise of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal has been rather dramatic and it became a hot topic as the duo sidelined premier spinners R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in limited overs.
Ashwin and Jadeja were first 'rested' by the selectors and the team management then benched them as Kuldeep and Chahal impressed one and all with their brilliant performances.
Although Jadeja and Ashwin are automatic choices in Test cricket, their limited overs future is under threat. However, Kuldeep begs to differ and said that there is no competition.
Speaking to CricketNext, Kuldeep said both Ashwin and Jadeja are like elder brothers and that he is still learning from them.
"I have no idea where this comparison comes from. Yes, Chahal and me have done decently in the limited-overs format, but that does not mean we are competing with Ashwin and Jadeja. Just look at their numbers and what they have done. We are just starting out and for me, I look up to them for guidance. In fact, they keep telling me how to go about doing my job in different match situations. Let us get this straight that they are not competition at all," he said.
Kuldeep's journey has been rather tough and when he was not picked Uttar Pradesh's under-15 team, Kuldeep, a 13-year-old at the time, contemplated not just quitting the game but also ending his life.
"I had worked hard for my selection, but when I was not picked, I mentioned suicide in frustration. It happens to everyone in the heat of the moment," he told Hindustan Times.
In limited overs, Kuldeep has relied on MS Dhoni's guidance from behind the stumps and asked if he will miss Dhoni in Test cricket, Kuldeep said, "Saha is just as good. He keeps guiding you with little inputs. But obviously, Dhoni is in a class of his own. With him, you just need to do 40 per cent of the job.
The rest of the 60 per cent he does it for you. He is so good that he can read the batsman's mind even before you bowl. While people love comparisons, I would say they are both very calm and that makes the job of the bowler easier," he said.
Speaking on skipper Virat Kohli's influence on him, the Chinaman said, "We have often heard that while the captain gets the applause and the brickbats after a performance, he can only be as good as his team. But, the same holds true the other way round. Sometimes, the team is as good as the captain and ours is a prime example. We have a role model in Kohli and we try and work just as hard as him. He raises the bar and we try to follow that. Then comes the support. With Kohli, you will never have negativity. He will find you a positive out of any situation and help you learn.
"The best part is that he never stops you from experimenting and learning new things. He wants you to in fact keep evolving and getting better. And when you know the captain has your back, you need no second invitation to go out and express yourself. To be honest, every moment in this team is like spending time with your own people — family," he said.
Soon after the home series against Sri Lanka, India will embark on important tours to South Africa, England, and Australia. When asked if he is prepared for overseas challenges, Kuldeep said, "One series at a time, please. Right now, let us focus on the Sri Lanka series. We can talk about South Africa after this one ends. No long-term goal settings happening here. I take things as they come and live in the present."