Umesh Yadav is happy to see India’s fast bowlers finally get the recognition they deserve. The pacer, who played a key role in India’s sound thrashing of Bangladesh in their first-ever Day-Night Test in Kolkata, says it is heart-warming to see India’s pacers being mentioned, breaking the stereotype that only spinners take wickets on Indian/sub-continent pitches.
India’s fast bowlers picked up 19 wickets in the Test, most in a home Test. In comparison, not a single wickets was taken by spinners, which highlight how dominating India’s pacer bowling contingent has become. This was the third time India’s seamers had taken 19 wickets or more in a Test, all in the last two years.
“It feels nice when people talk about fast bowlers. People earlier talked about spinners when we played at home,” Umesh told Times of India. “They assumed the pitch would start taking turn early. Fast bowlers usually bowled with the new ball and were brought back when there was reverse swing on offer. Our job was to roughen up the ball for the spinners. Spinners even started with the new ball.
“It is satisfying to know that now we are looked at as bowlers who could bowl all day. When this crop of fast bowlers came together, all five of us decided we are not here to just rough up the ball for spinners. We started thinking wickets. This ensured we got the new ball.”
In the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh has stepped up and performed remarkably. Between 2016 and 2017, Umesh bowled the maximum overs for India in Tests before being limited to making sporadic appearances. However, against South Africa and Bangladesh, in five Tests, the 32-year-old has scalped 23 wickets and has also entertained with the bat.
“People think that there are a lot of different things happening with my bowling,” he said. “It depends on the number of matches I play. I don’t get many matches. I have played most of my cricket at home in the last two years. When you keep playing matches, you have a rhythm. Bowling on those 22 yards helps you to learn more and grow – it helps you to sustain the rhythm. You start reading the game better when you are playing regularly.”
Umesh admitted it isn’t easy sitting out but understands that when fellow bowlers are picking 20 wickets, there isn’t much he can do. That said, the key, as Umesh points out, is to make the most of the opportunities as and when they arrive.
“When we are travelling and I don’t get a game, it all comes down to the mindset. If I don’t have control over my thought process, then it will start affecting my game. When you don’t get a game, you tend to feel a bit sad,” Umesh added.
“I know the bowlers who are playing are also getting 20 wickets. So I need to wait for my chances. I have to keep thinking that when I get my chance, I’ll grab it. I can’t be negative and be resigned to my fate. I try to pick up things while sitting outside and implement that in the nets.”