Kolkata Knight Riders opener Chris Lynn and vice-captain Robin Uthappa on Tuesday spoke highly of the team’s young guns – Kuldeep Yadav and Shubman Gill.
Kuldeep Yadav has been with KKR since 2014 but only made his debut in the tournament in 2016 and has quickly established himself as one of the trump cards for the Kolkata-based franchise in a very short span of time.
In just three seasons so far, Kuldeep Yadav has picked up 35 wickets from 31 matches at an impressive average of 24.51 which includes a four-wicket haul as well.
Chris Lynn, who also joined Kolkata Knight Riders in 2014, has seen Kuldeep rise as a left-arm wrist spinner from close quarters in the last three seasons and labelled him as a world-class bowler.
“It’s been awesome to watch Kuldeep develop over the last six years. When I first came into the system he looked like a stumpy guy rolling his leg-spinners out. But now he’s fit and strong, he’s developed his game, his variations are a lot more harder to pick now and he’s a world-class bowler. He’s made a name for himself on the world stage which is impressive at his age,” Chris Lynn told India Today.
Robin Uthappa agreed with his teammate and said that Kuldeep has not only grown as a bowler but also as a person over the last few years.
“Kuldeep is someone who has evolved over the last five-six years as a bowler and as a human being. Someone who has really worked on his fitness. He was one of the hardest working members in the group when he was not playing during the IPL.
“As a bowler he’s become braver and become more courageous as a bowler. He’s really come into his own as a bowler and I think over the next few years we will see him expressing himself as a human being on the field. It’s an exciting few years for Kuldeep and he’s going to be a mainstay within the Indian team,” Robin Uthappa told India Today.
Both Lynn and Uthappa reserved special praise for 19-year-old batsman Shubman Gill, who made his debut in the IPL for KKR last season.
Gill impressed in his first year as he got to play 13 matches for the two-time champions in which he amassed 203 runs at an average of 33.83, including a half-century.
3rd February – a date @RealShubmanGill will cherish forever
2018 – #U19CWC trophy in hand
KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) February 3, 2019
Shubman Gill was a mainstay in India’s U-19 World Cup triumph last year in which he scored 372 runs from 6 matches at an average of 124 and was the tournament’s second highest run-scorer. He was the Player of the Series in the U-19 World Cup and has been labelled by many as the next-big thing in Indian cricket.
“Shubman I think, between last year and this he has showed the world what he can do. He debuted in New Zealand not long ago but I think this year he can have a breakout season without putting too much pressure on him. He can bat anywhere in the order and I think he’s going to take some teams by surprise,” Chris Lynn said.
Uthappa on the other hand, labelled the Punjab batsman as a prodigy. “Shubman has got a very level head on his shoulders and is very sorted in his mind, he knows what he wants to do and how he wants to approach his game. He’s a hard-working lad and is someone who is willing to put in the hard yards. He is someone who knows he is talented, is probably a prodigee and the next big thing in Indian cricket but he still has a very firm head on his shoulders.
“He is a very humble kid, very well brought up. A lot of credit must be given to his parents. Coming from that part of the country and to be able to be that humble and that aware of himself at that age is fantastic,” Robin Uthappa said.