Even though Yadav was selected in the Indian cricket team to play against the West Indies in 2014, he didn’t get play in any match. He made his Test debut against a touring Australian side in March 2017 at Dharamshala. He is the first left arm wrist spinner to represent India internationally in Test cricket and the third such bowler in the long format to pick four wickets on debut.
He made his ODI debut at Port of Spain, in June 2017, against the West Indies and T20I debut against the same opponents a month later in July. Yadav also became the third such bowler after Chetan Sharma and Kapil Dev to take a hat-trick in an ODI. He picked three wickets against Australia at the Eden Gardens in September 2017 at Kolkata.
Yadav, who was a permanent fixture for Team India from 2017 to early 2019, endured a slump starting from the last season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and after a disappointing World Cup outing where he was in and out of the side, he was dropped for a good four months.
His records galore is quite enviable as he became the second Indian, Bhuvneshwar Kumar being the first and third spinner to take five wickets hauls in all three formats of the game. In 2019, against the West Indies, Yadav also became the first bowler for India to take two hat-tricks in International cricket.
As the youngster turns 26, here’s a look at his top five spells:
4-68 vs Australia – 4th Test match 1st innings, Dharamshala, 2017
Yadav’s left-arm wrist spin gave this series yet another unexpected twist, as India enjoyed the better of the first day of the decisive fourth Test in Dharamshala. He surprised the likes of David Warner, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb and Glenn Maxwell with his amazing spell which paved way for India’s victory in the decider. He ended with a first innings haul of 4 for 68.
5-57 vs West Indies, 1st Test, Rajkot, 2018
India won the toss and posted a mammoth of 649 for 9 (declared) in their first innings. The visitors were bundled out for a mere 181 and were forced to follow-on. Their second innings too was no different as they were restricted bowled out at 196. Yadav not only registered his first five-wicket (5-57) haul in Test cricket, but also became the first and the only bowler in the world to take five-wicket hauls in all three formats of the game in a calendar year.
6-25 vs England ODI – India tour of Ireland and England, Trent Bridge, 2018
In his first ODI in England, Yadav ripped through the hosts batting line-up and helped India to restrict them to 268 at Trent Bridge. He scalped six wickets, giving away just 25 runs from his ten overs. He not only registered his first five-wicket haul, but also was awarded the Player of the match for his superb spell. Chasing the total, India won the match by eight wickets.
5-24 vs England T20I – India tour of Ireland and England, Manchester, 2018
On July 3, 2018, Kuldeep Yadav took his first five-for in a T20I and became the first left-arm spinner to take five wickets in the format. Yadav’s five-wicket haul in the shortest format dismantled England before KL Rahul registered an unbeaten century as India won the match by eight wickets. He was awarded the Player of the Match.
5-24 vs South Africa – India tour of South Africa, Cape Town, 2018
Batting first, Team India put up a total of 303 runs for the hosts to chase. Yadav, along with Chahal, shared eight wickets between them to give their side 3-0 up in the series. He was the pick among the bowlers as he scalped four wickets giving away juts 24 runs at an average of 2.56.