Cricket World Cup 2019: Kuldeep raring to go in India colours after difficult IPL campaign

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Kuldeep Yadav is ready for his maiden World Cup bow.

Despite having a miserable time in the recent Indian Premier League (IPL) for KKR, India spinner Kuldeep Yadav is looking forward to making a big impact in his maiden World Cup campaign.

The left-armed wrist-spinner has several expensive outings for Kolkata Knight Riders before being dropped from the playing XI for the latter stages of the IPL. His drop in form will be a concern for India given how important he is to the team’s plans for the World Cup but Kuldeep is not worried.

“You can say that (IPL 2019 being the toughest phase of his career),” Kuldeep told ESPNcricinfo in an interview.

“In the two years I have been playing, everything was working nicely. But I now want to look forward to the World Cup.

“I could have been a bit more strong mentally. I could have increased my focus a bit. I lacked the focus and the planning – that was my big learning.”

While his IPL form has been a big talking point of late, Kuldeep has continued to receive support from India skipper Virat Kohli ever since he made his international debut two years ago.

The young spinner has credited the captain’s confidence in him as a big reason for his strong showings so far at the international level.

“It is a very big thing when your captain believes in you. Virat has always had belief in (Yuzvendra) Chahal and me,” Kuldeep said.

“He believes both of us can take wickets at any time in a match, that we can change the game at any time. Even if we have a bad match or if we go for runs, he does not say anything. He trusts us, gives us the freedom to bowl the way we want to.

“He just says: I want wickets. He tells us that even if we go for five or ten runs extra, it’s not an issue as long as we are getting wickets. When he believes that you are one of his main players, it is a good sign that your captain is supporting you.”

Kuldeep will now hope to put his IPL disappointments behind him when India open their 2019 World Cup campaign against South Africa at Southampton on Wednesday.

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Cricket World Cup 2019: South Africa veteran pacer Steyn ruled out of entire tournament

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Steyn's World Cup dream is over.

Dale Steyn has been ruled out of South Africa’s entire World Cup campaign, in a sizeable blow to the Proteas.

The 35-year-old had been battling to overcome a shoulder injury in time for Wednesday’s make-or-break clash with India in Southampton.

But the veteran seamer has been forced to admit defeat in that fitness quest, leaving head coach Ottis Gibson’s side struggling on the injury front.

South Africa have called up left-arm pace bowler Beuran Hendricks as a replacement, with Lungi Ngidi also nursing a hamstring problem.

Paceman Anrich Nortje was ruled out with a thumb issue before the tournament even started.

South Africa have endured a wretched start to the World Cup, losing to hosts England by 104 runs then slipping to a 21-run loss to Bangladesh on Sunday.

The Proteas now face a must-win clash with India, but their depth will be severely tested by this injury glut.

Head coach Gibson insisted on Monday that Steyn was winning his injury fight, but less than 24 hours later the talismanic figure was out of the competition.

Gibson said on Monday: “Dale is getting closer every day. He reckons he’s about 85 per cent, and we have to decide whether 85 per cent is good enough to play against India.

“We lost Lungi, he’s going to be at least a week. We lost two bowlers before the tournament started and now Lungi too.

“So we’re under pressure, but now there’s an opportunity for the bench to step up.”

Provided by Press Association Sports

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Cricket World Cup 2019: Shakib Al Hasan targets a special 200th ODI as Bangladesh take on New Zealand

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Shakib Al Hasan.

Bangladesh star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan is hoping for a memorable 200th ODI when the Tigers take on New Zealand on Wednesday.

Bangladesh made a brilliant start to the 2019 World Cup, defeating South Africa by 21 runs with Shakib enjoying a fine day. The top-ranked all-rounder scored 75 to help Bangladesh post their highest ever ODI score of 330-6 before taking 1-50 to restrict South Africa to 309-8.

That match saw Shakib become just the fifth player after Sanath Jayasuriya, Jacques Kallis, Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq to reach the landmark of 5,000 runs and 250 wickets in ODIs. He was the fastest to that mark – 199 matches.

On Wednesday, Shakib will become only the third Bangladesh player to the 200-ODI mark after skipper Mashrafe Mortaza and Mushfiqur Rahim. However, Shakib isn’t thinking too much about the milestone.

“I’m very happy the way I contributed (in the last game). If I do that every time, the stats will take care of themselves,” Shakib was quoted as saying by AFP.

“I don’t normally look at it (statistics), but if people are talking about it, I obviously feel happy.”

Bangladesh’s next opponents New Zealand are likely to be a more challenging prospect than the Proteas. A finger injury had forced Shakib out of the ODI series in New Zealand earlier this year in which the Tigers were blanked 3-0. Shakib wants to set the record straight on Wednesday.

“Building up to this World Cup, we knew what challenges we might face. We prepared well, so that gave us a lot of confidence and belief. We came to this World Cup wanting to do well,” he said.

“We are up for the challenge but at the same time we are relaxed. We knew we had the skill to beat big teams.

“I think that we are in a good place, mentally. I think if we can continue in this manner, we can go a long way in the tournament.”

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