Kuldeep Yadav, the left-arm unorthodox spinner for Team India and Delhi Capitals in the IPL, recently opened up about his interactions with the late great Shane Warne over the years. He remembered the time when the Aussie cricketing legend told him to be happy on the ground to get over the pressures of playing the sport at the highest level.
On episode 2 of the Breakfast with Champions season 8, Kuldeep Yadav was sitting alongside his bowling partner Yuzvendra Chahal for a chat with Gaurav Kapur. When the esteemed cricket presenter asked Kuldeep about when he met Shane Warne for the first time, he replied, “Yes, I met him in the year 2017 for the first time. I kept listening to him for 10 minutes. I didn’t know what to say. Then gradually, I started talking to him. I even visited his house.”
The Indian spinner talked about the day when Shane Warne passed away and how emotionally devastated he was in the immediate aftermath. “So, I was shocked to hear about his demise. I actually cried. I didn’t understand… It felt like someone close to me passed away. I was always in touch with him. I spoke with him 10 days before he died,” Kuldeep Yadav mentioned.
The 28-year-old reminisced as to how he became a friend of Shane Warne after watching him play cricket on TV as a fan for years and years. He said, “Sometimes, I used to feel proud that I had seen him (Shane Warne) on TV. And then, I became his friend. I got to learn from him at the same time. And I want to do what he has done.”
Kuldeep Yadav also spoke about the Sydney test between India and Australia in the 2018-19 Border Gavaskar Trophy (BGT) where he dedicated his 5-wicket haul to Shane Warne himself. Yadav said, “He helped me a lot during the Australia tour. I was a little nervous before the match. I used to meet him in the morning. He came to me and said, (I don’t know what you are going to bowl, but I want you to be happy on the ground. I will be watching you from the pavilion. It doesn’t matter how you bowl. Just do it with a smile).”
“So, I remembered this. And I was doing the same thing on the ground. I did not feel the pressure in that match. And when I took five wickets, I dedicated it to him. He had tears in his eyes. He couldn’t believe it. So, he has influenced my life a lot,” Kuldeep Yadav concluded.