Kuldeep Yadav was inspired by Wasim Akram at KKR

Indian spinner recalled his interactions with the fast-bowling legend

Kuldeep Yadav was inspired by Wasim Akram at KKR PHOTO: IPL

Indian spinner Kuldeep Yadav has said that Pakistan fast-bowling great Wasim Akram had a major influence on him in the early stages of his career.

The 25-year-old recalled his interactions with Akram, while the latter was the bowling coaching of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).

“Wasim 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,” said Kuldeep according to KKR’s official website. “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.”

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Kuldeep also revealed how he used to test Pakistan’s legendary pacer’s cricketing knowledge and game awareness during different match situations.

“When he was at KKR, I used to sit with him and pick his brain a lot,” he said. “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.”

Earlier this week, Indian pacer, Mohammad Shami, also credited Akram for playing a crucial role in his progression as a bowler.

“I watched Wasim Akram all my life on television, but with KKR, I had the chance to learn from him,” said Shami. “During the initial days, I was not even able to talk to him. Wasim Bhai came up to me then, and he initiated the conversation with me and started telling me things about bowling. He read me very quickly, he realised what I am all about and I learnt a lot from him.”