Umesh: 'Now I know my strong points'

With better control, the 29-year-old must be keen to serve India well when it travels to play in pacer-friendly conditions of England, Australia and South Africa.

Umesh Yadav... a much improved bowler.   -  IPL / Sportzpics

In the last one year or so, the express bowler has evolved from being a bundle of raw energy to an exceptional practitioner of fast bowling.

Umesh has gained maturity and has added new dimensions to his bowling with every single outing, starting from the four-match Test series in the West Indies to the 13-Test home series.

Umesh’s best came against Australia as he provided breakthroughs at right times in the Bengaluru and Dharamsala Tests and played a crucial role in India’s fightback to win the series.

One saw Umesh bowling at different slots with a fair amount of success. Sometimes he got wickets by generating reverse swing with the older ball and at other times by making early inroads with the new cherry.

Umesh brilliantly set up Steve Smith for an lbw (and the ensuing DRS controversy) in the second innings of the second Test to script a turning point of the match and enable India to draw parity.

The fourth Test was a bigger instance of the team’s dependence on Umesh. He showcased his repertoire of swing, exploited the bounce, played around with the length as he dismissed David Warner and Matt Renshaw early in the second innings to open the road for an Indian victory.

The fact that Umesh, preceded by four spinners, stood fifth with 17 scalps in the overall list of wicket-takers spoke of the impact he made in the keenly-fought series, in which India badly missed the guile of a crafty Mohammad Shami.

“This is all due to my hard work. In the last 8-10 months I am playing continuously (for India). I have played 14 matches. I think, the number of matches I have played has helped me improve my line and length. Now I know my strong points and the areas I need to bowl at,” said Umesh, on his return to action for Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League with a four-wicket haul against Kings XI Punjab.

Umesh acknowledged the contribution of head coach Anil Kumble and assistant coach Sanjay Bangar in his evolution as a bowler. “In the last 10 months, our coaches Sanjay Bangar, Anil sir have helped me a lot. Sanjay sir had told me that when you run in to bowl, sometimes you run faster than required in order to bowl faster. Then you risk the chance of disturbing your line and length. You should enjoy you run-up which will help you bring control to your bowling,” said Umesh.

With better control over his trade, the 29-year-old must be keen to serve India well when it travels to play in pacer-friendly conditions of England, Australia and South Africa.