Handful At Home: The Version 2.0 of Umesh Yadav


After restarting his career following a break, the pacer Umesh Yadav has become an important part of the Indian team’s bowling attack. In his nine-years of international career, Yadav has gone through many difficulties and obstacles.

In the last home Test match that India had played before the South Africa series, Yadav had taken a 10-wicket haul. Yadav was the only third Indian fast bowler after Kapil Dev, who did it twice, and Javagal Srinath took 10 wickets once in a home Test.

Nevertheless, Yadav, who turned 32 last month, was upset owing to some issues in his mind. However, it was only for a brief period. His wife Tanya said Yadav got on with his regular schedule as it was the only way to return. “Initially he was very disturbed but gathered himself very quickly. Umesh knows that he is part of a world-class unit and has to do well whenever the opportunity comes,” Tanya told TOI.

India’s star pacer Jasprit Bumrah then got injured and Yadav was called up as a replacement. After warming the benches during the series against Australia and West Indies, Yadav was eager to make a meaningful contribution.

The smile was back with the wickets of Adrian Markam and Dean Elgar in the Pune Test. The pacer played an important role in India’s clean sweep against South Africa where wickets didn’t offer much for the quicks. Yadav grabbed 11 wickets in two Tests at an impressive average of 12.18. His strike rate of 21.2 was the best among all the bowlers.

Even the opposition was awestruck with Yadav’s performance. Skipper Faf du Plessis praised Yadav after the series. South Africa’s assistant coach, Prasanna Agoram, who has seen Yadav since he took a five-wicket haul against a star-studded South Zone side in 2009, feels Yadav now means business.

After a stop-start career laced with injuries and inconsistent performances, Yadav has been a regular in the Indian side. He was India’s leading pacer during the home Test series against New Zealand, England, and Australia in 2016-17. Being Bumrah’s replacement meant somebody needed to make way. Unfortunately, Yadav was that guy each time.

It must have been disappointing but Umesh looked at the positive side of things. Tanya said, “Umesh is very calm and secure. He knows there’s competition for places. He has immense self-belief about what he can bring to the table. He has that positive mindset and always works hard and gives his best to overcome his shortcomings. Umesh knew he will get his chances and when he gets them, he will have to be ready.”

After an average IPL, he was asked to take a small break and that made him upset. “After the break, he was back to his routine. He would discuss and work on his bowling with Subroto (Banerjee) sir,” Tanya added.


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