Umesh Yadav: Shreyas Iyer has been the best captain for me

In an interview, India and KKR fast bowler Umesh discusses his preparations for the season, and how he has adapted to white-ball cricket without much game time.

Umesh Yadav, with 10 wickets, is currently second among the leading wicket-takers in the IPL so far this season. - BCCI/IPL

Umesh Yadav has turned over a new leaf in his career. The veteran fast bowler has already bagged 10 wickets in his first five outings with the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2022 edition of the Indian Premier League. And he has delivered 62 dot balls - the most thus far in three weeks of high-voltage action.

Umesh is currently second in the Purple Cap race led by Yuzvendra Chahal. He opens up to Sportstar ahead of the clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday. The 34-year-old discusses his preparations for the season, and how he has adapted to white-ball cricket without much game time.

Q. There have been considerable gaps in your white-ball career and even in the IPL. You have been bowling in Test matches, but how challenging is it to adapt to the shorter formats?

A. It should not be that difficult for any bowler. When you play with the red ball, the length is the same. The length of a bouncer is the same in Test cricket as in white-ball cricket. The concept of a good length is no different. So if you can bowl well in Test cricket, there should not be much of a problem. There are little things like the slowers and yorkers which need work. But these days, if you have noticed, there is a trend of slowers and yorkers in red-ball cricket too. The bowlers try out these variations in Test matches when the wickets don't assist.

But visualising and executing are two different things...

Thinking, bowling and executing are different things. At times, you may not be able to execute. Even the batters have evolved like the bowlers with their variations. There are things like a lap shot in cricket now. Adapting is not too difficult.

ALSO READ - Deepak Chahar ruled out of IPL 2022 with back injury

Can you tell us about your preparations specifically for this IPL?

It's more or less the same thing that I have been doing over the years. But yes, once you gain experience, you know the areas that may need work. I am working on my weak points and trying to make the strong points stronger. When I practice, I try to understand how my strength can help the team win the games. I plan on my own - the field, the setup against a particular batter. I try to apply such things at the nets, and usually, I try to mix things up. If you start complicating things in cricket, it can get confusing in the long run. It is better to keep the basics right with a clear mind. In IPL, you can get wickets but can also concede runs. You have to be ready for that. The batter can score a fifty or get dismissed for a duck. And that's the nature of the game.

It is not a good feeling to get hit for a six after running in hard and bowling...

It can happen in T20 cricket. You have to keep a strong mind and heart to operate in a tournament like the IPL. Your face should not turn pale if you leak a few runs after picking up wickets.

Do you specifically study and plan against batters in the IPL?

There are meetings before games. The opponent batters are analysed, their scoring and non-scoring areas are studied. You have to gauge their weak and strong points, do a little bit of mental calculation and plan the bowling accordingly.

How much time have you been spending at the gym?

The more you love your body, it will love you back. Whenever I am free and not practising, I try to follow my workout programme. I try to do those workouts that may help my body. It is part of my work ethic.

How is it to play under Shreyas Iyer’s leadership?

When you know that you are doing well, it is fine, but when you don't do well, there is a bit of pressure. Shreyas knows that I have been around for a long time and he understands me. He supports and backs me. He knows that I can handle my game even when the chips are down. He expects me to bowl to my strength and play the role that has been assigned. He has even come up to me to ask for suggestions. He is very relaxed and knows his job. He has been the best captain for me since I got a chance after such a long time.

You have always been a big hitter of the ball. Now with most seamers batting well and making the competition stiff, do you plan to work more on your batting to perhaps play an all-round role?

At times, batting can give you the edge. If you are going overseas where there is a requirement for a fast-bowling all-rounder, and if you happen to be a decent batter, it can help.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :