New Delhi: Making his presence felt with a three-wicket haul in Kolkata Knight Riders' victory against Perth Scorchers, young left-arm chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav is not only enjoying being part of a star-studded unit but said that the Gautam Gambhir-led side is like family.
"It's great to be part of the KKR squad. Nobody has 'airs' about themselves and are very down to earth. They never make me feel like a junior player. Everybody respects and supports each other and we all gel like a family. It's never like I am with the 'stars' or anything," Kuldeep told PTI in an interview.
The reigning IPL champions, who booked their semi-final spot after stretching their winning run to 12 games -- a domestic record, relied on a blazing knock from Suryakumar Yadav (43 not out) and the spin duo of Sunil Narine (4/31) and Kuldeep (3/24) against Perth.
The former Mumbai Indians player said that cutting into the KKR XI was difficult but the effort was worth it.
"I always felt like a junior player in the Mumbai Indians camp. I was just 17 and things were very different then. In KKR everybody treats you the same. Ofcourse I got my break in the XI a little late and that was understandable as KKR has got a lot of world class spin options like Sunil Narine, Yusuf Pathan and Shakib al Hasan. But I have learnt a lot just being part of the purple brigade," said Kuldeep.
Gambhir was all praise for Kuldeep's effort after the team won its thrid consecutive game from Group A and the 19-year-old player is also a great fan of his captain.
"Gauti bhai always motivates me during the nets. Even during a match he supports me. He is a very attacking captain and backs all the youngsters in the team and it feels nice when a senior players supports," said Kuldeep.
Born in Kanpur, Kuldeep surely wants to play for Uttar Pradesh in the upcoming Ranji season and make a mark there as well.
"After CLT20 my focus will be on Ranji Trophy. I have not got a chance to play for Uttar Pradesh as I just played a few T20s for the state team. But hopefully this year I will break into the team and perform well. I am in touch with Suresh bhai, who is a world class player himself. He messaged me on my debut. So I would love to play under him or anybody who leads the UP team," said Kuldeep.