Unique craft bonds unlikely pairing

Brad Hogg is lending his expertise to young India spinner Kuldeep Yadav, a fellow devotee to the rare craft of left-arm wrist spin

A two-time World Cup winner for Australia, Brad Hogg has been working behind enemy lines on this Qantas Tour of India.

Commentating for local broadcaster Star Sports, Hogg has also continued his mentoring role of young Indian spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who has picked up seven Australian wickets as the hosts have taken a 3-0 lead in this five-match ODI series.

The pair has had a strong bond since playing together at Kolkata in the Indian Premier League and despite the age and cultural gap between the pair, they are indelibly linked by a devotion to the rare craft of left-arm wrist spin.

Kuldeep makes history with hat-trick

So in the same way that Shane Warne has worked informally with Pakistan's Yasir Shah and England's Adil Rashid, Hogg finds himself in the unusual position of being a confidant to a player looking to undo the team he represented with aplomb in a career that spanned almost two decades.

It's a situation that's not overly uncommon in the modern global game; Australia's spin consultant on this tour is former India player Sri Sriram and stand-in head coach David Saker used to be the fast bowling mentor for fierce rivals England.

Shane Warne has helped out England's Adil Rashid // Getty
Shane Warne has helped out England's Adil Rashid // Getty

And Hogg says the bond between left-arm wrist spinners and the mutual respect between the pair is more important than any national allegiance.

"I'm not going to go into it because for me it's confidential between me and Kuldeep," Hogg told this week when asked what advice he's given the young Indian.

"We're close mates and he's confided in me so it'd be pretty rude for me to take that information and give it away.

"We bowl the same art and it's not an art that's prevalent in international cricket. So as much as I'd like to talk to some of my former teammates about it, the art is more important.

"I want that art to succeed and I want other kids to be bowling it. And we're seeing a lot more kids bowling it and coming through the ranks.

"So I'm caught in between a rock and a hard place a little bit, I guess."

On the surface, the friendship between the two left-armers is an unlikely one.

Not only are there vast cultural differences between Hogg, the only child of a sheep farmer from rural Western Australia, and Kuldeep, the son of a brick maker from the northern industrial city of Kanpur, the teacher is more than twice his student's age.

Brad Hogg celebrates a wicket for Kolkata in the IPL // AFP
Brad Hogg celebrates a wicket for Kolkata in the IPL // AFP

But the pair are tight, even if the Australian is not fully accustomed to the respect his pupil shows him.

"It's quite funny, we WhatsApp each other and he keeps calling me 'Sir' and I keep saying 'mate, just call me Hoggy'," Hogg says with a laugh.

"And that's a difference in cultures and his upbringing.

"He shows a lot of respect for his elders and in his own right he's established himself.

"It's quite funny, that dynamic. In Australia, you're all equal and it doesn't matter how many games you've played. But over here there is still a little bit of a tiered system. It's not that prevalent, but it's still there a little bit.

"The thing about Kuldeep I like is it's not just his bowling, it's his personality and him as a person."

Hogg says the young Indian has "got to figure out a lot of things by himself" as he starts his international journey, adding he sees a lot of his younger self in the up-and-coming star.

"He's got the same doubts that I had when I was playing," he says. "He's young, we've all been through that as bowlers.

"You're confident against some players and not so confident against others."

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One player that Kuldeep is certainly confident against is Australian opener David Warner, whom he's dismissed four times in five innings across all formats.

And Hogg believes the 22-year-old's comments regarding Warner last week, when he claimed to "have the wood" on Australia's vice-captain, could prove to be a valuable learning experience.

"When you come out and say something about someone like David Warner, you've got to be treading carefully," he says.

"Because David Warner is one of those guys who loves a challenge and you don't want to stir the pot. While you're on top of him, you want to keep quiet and just talk to him nicely. Definitely don't stir him up.”

Warner has not faced Kuldeep since the spinner's remarks a week ago and a possible re-match between the pair will be an intriguing sub-plot for the final two matches of this series and the three T20s that follow.

And should Hogg's premonition come true and Kuldeep cop the full brunt of Warner the next time they meet, the spinner will likely again turn to the veteran Australian for advice.

Even though he's not yet comfortable calling him 'Hoggy'.

Australia's Qantas Tour of India

Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.

Australia T20 squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Jason Behrendorff, Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.

India ODI squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.

ODI Fixtures

September 17: India won by 26 runs (DLS Method)

September 21: India won by 50 runs

September 24: India won by five wickets

September 28: M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru

October 1: VCA Stadium, Nagpur

T20 Fixtures

October 7: JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi

October 10: Barsapara Stadium, Guwahati

October 13: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad