Umesh Yadav: A deserving candidate for Australia

The 30-year-old pacer has made the ball talk Down Under in his earlier tours and with this current form, he can breathe fire on the fast and bouncy wickets.

Umesh Yadav celebrates the dismissal of Roston Chase in Hyderabad on Sunday.   -  AP

When Umesh Yadav made his international debut in 2010, India’s pace reserve was still under construction. Now that there is a problem of plenty, the fiery speedster from Vidarbha isn’t a regular in the Test playing XI; but the hunger to be the best remains.

The record 10-wicket match haul against Windies in Hyderabad — which included bowling extra overs to cover up for the injured Shardul Thakur — proved his mindset and fitness.

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Skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri feel Yadav’s performance has led to a selection headache ahead of the Australia tour. But if one goes by statistics, records and his form at the moment, he deserves a berth in the playing XI.

In seven Test matches on the Australian soil since 2011-12 — his debut overseas assignment — Yadav has claimed 25 wickets, including a five-for in Perth.

Yadav’s best in Australia

3-106 and 4-70 in Melbourne (2011-12)

5-93 in Perth (2011-12)

3-101 and 2-46 in Brisbane (2014-15)

3-130 and 2-89 in Melbourne (2014-15)

“I think he should go to Australia based on how he is bowling at the moment. He has hit the correct form. It is pretty good the way he is moving the ball. It doesn’t happen in India that much, but he will be effective in Australia,” former India pacer Subroto Banerjee, also his bowling coach since junior cricket days, told Sportstar on Monday.

Banerjee expects his ward to prepare strategically for the Australia tour. “I had a word with him last night itself. I don’t give him tips anymore. He has played enough cricket. I tell him if I see something is going wrong. Now, we only talk about the mindset.

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“He should know the bounce and pace of the wicket, the kind of batsmen and the shots they could play. He should workout all these practical aspects before going to Australia. If he uses his brain and tactically prepares himself, he will do well,” Banerjee added.

Before Yadav, Javagal Srinath — 13/132 against Pakistan in 1999-00 — and Kapil Dev — 11/146 against Pakistan and 10/135 against Windies — were the only Indian pacers with 10 wickets (or more) at home.

“He is bowling in the the right areas with a bit of reverse swing. Umesh is an asset to Team India and he should be used carefully,” he said.

This year, Yadav has appeared in only four Tests and three of them were home fixtures. Birmingham was the only overseas outing, and the rest of the months were spent on bench.

In the company of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami — Yadav makes the Indian bowling attack all the more lethal.