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Want to do something for Indian football, says Indian cricketer Kuldeep Yadav

Published at :April 30, 2024 at 12:47 PM
Modified at :April 30, 2024 at 12:47 PM
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Kuldeep Yadav has a deep relationship with football, which he expressed in a recent interaction.

Kuldeep Yadav is a prominent personality in cricket, a sport that dominates the Indian sports landscape and holds the stature of being akin to a religion in the country. While it is heartening to see cricket contributing massively to the sporting culture of India, the blow-back of its greatness leads to other sports like football becoming neglected.

Indian football fans are a passionate bunch but they alone cannot grow football. Developing the game needs a consistent and sustained effort by the public and private sectors in tandem. That is where eminent sports personalities such as Kuldeep Yadav can play a major role. In a conversation with fellow Indian men’s cricket team spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, Yadav expressed his deep desire to contribute to the development of Indian football.

“I want to do something for Indian football in future – we have lots of potential but they are not getting the full resources so my aim is to start an academy,” he was quoted as saying in a conversation with Ashwin on the latter’s YouTube channel.

Kuldeep Yadav’s love for football

Ashwin started the video by introducing Kuldeep Yadav as “an absolute geek of the game, loves football to bits.” The latter talked about being interested in football from a young age and reminisced about breaking his foot while playing the sport back in the day.

Later, he talked candidly with Ashwin about targeting football after his retirement and plans to help Indian football by opening a football academy and utilising the high potential of the players by providing them with the needful resources which they lack as of now.

The left-arm Chinaman bowler also spoke about his interaction with Manchester United and England legend David Beckham, where he indicated how he started supporting Premier League’s Manchester United due to their legendary player Paul Scholes and was an avid listener of Gary Neville’s podcast, another MUFC legend.

During the conversation with Beckham, Kuldeep Yadav expressed his desire to get involved in football after his retirement and manage a football team one day. The 29-year-old also shared how he talked about Newcastle United and the ownership situation at Manchester United with Beckham. It is also a well-known fact that Yadav’s favourite footballer is Brazil’s Neymar and he is indeed an ardent FC Barcelona fan.

Social media activity around football

Kuldeep Yadav plays for Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League and loves to share content on social media regarding his experiences with the outfit and the Indian cricket team as well. However, he often posts about football, with a recent post on X (formerly Twitter) referring to the El Clasico fixture between Spanish giants Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.

Kuldeep Yadav can be seen professing his love for the Blaugrana regularly and also keeps in touch with the happenings of the Premier League in England. His observations and posts give a good insight into his tactical knowledge of the sport.  

Way forward for Indian football

It is not a secret that India is an underwhelming performer on the international stage in football. At the time of writing, the men’s national football team sits in 121 in FIFA rankings, its lowest in the last few years. While the women’s team occupies the 66th rank, it is also way behind other Asian nations in terms of quality and competitiveness. Indian footballers come up short in various departments as compared to foreign footballers which boils down to a lack of quality coaching at the grassroots level.

It is heartening to see an established cricketer like Kuldeep Yadav identifying this issue and expressing his desire to open an academy which would contribute to improving grassroots coaching for budding footballers in the country. 

India is often claimed to be a “sleeping giant” in the world of football due to its size and population. With sporting personalities like Kuldeep Yadav coming forward to help the development of the game, perhaps good days are in store for Indian football. 

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