1st Test: Was nervous initially but it was not difficult adjusting to Test cricket after a long break, says Kuldeep Yadav

India’s left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav said on Friday that he faced neither pressure nor adjustment issues playing in the first Test against Bangladesh, his first five-day match after nearly two years, at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, here.

Kuldeep Yadav completed his third five-for in the eighth Test match — a career-best 5 for 40 and India bowled out Bangladesh for just 150, taking a lead of a massive 254-run lead.

But the 28-year-old spinner said he did not experience any trouble in adjusting to Test cricket as he was not totally cut off from cricket, being involved in white-ball cricket for India.

“Kahne ke liye toh do saal hain par mujhe kabhi feel hi nahi huwa kyun ki main white-ball cricket khel raha tha (It might be nearly two years (22 months) but I never felt it that way because I was involved in white-ball cricket),” Yadav told the media at the end of the third day’s proceedings in Chattogram on Friday.

Yadav said he did not feel any pressure playing his first Test in nearly two years as he was playing some form of cricket after gaining fitness following a knee surgery in 2021.

The pace of the game and the formations may be a bit different but I did not face difficulty adapting to Test cricket, said Yadav.

“I was playing white-ball cricket since my comeback from injury — playing T20 and One-day cricket. In between, I also played red-ball cricket for India A against New Zealand A and I bowled a long spell. Because of my bowling style, I did’t find it much more difficult to switch from white-ball to red-ball cricket.

“Of course, I was a bit nervous as I was playing red-ball cricket after a long gap but I was not thinking about my performance. The formation is quite different and so are the field positions, you need to have more control in Test cricket — so I was a bit nervous about these things but I felt quite good at the end of the first innings,” said Kuldeep Yadav.

Having scored a vital 40 off 114 balls batting down the order in India’s first innings, Yadav said the pitch was perfect for batting.

“I believe it was a perfect wicket to bat on. I batted for 20 overs and it was really good to bat against spinners as well. Me and Ash bhai (R Ashwin) were initially looking at a first innings score of 360 but as time passed, batting became easier so we looked at a 400-run total.

“It’s just keeping low sometimes and the odd ball is turning a bit. I think the wicket will remain the same. Probably on the fourth day, we will get more turn from spinners. So, we are hoping that in the second innings we will probably get more turn compared to the first innings,” Yadav added.

He did not agree to the suggestion that India delayed declaring their second innings as they were afraid (of Bangladesh chasing the target).

There are still two days to go in this match, around 180 overs, so there is enough time. It also gives us the chance to bowl them out. You can’t predict a team whether you are bowling or batting. Sometimes, a target of 400 looks easy but if someone manages to stay at the wicket, there is a chance of the opposition getting close. It was not like we are afraid of but we wanted to bat till after drinks in post-tea session and give them 15-20 overs to bat,” he said.

He said he is enjoying bowling in tandem with Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel. “It is always good bowling in pairs — if you create pressure at one end, you get wickets at the other. So it felt good bowling with Ashwin and Axar. I enjoy a lot bowling with spinners and hopefully will continue doing so in the future,” said Yadav.

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