Right-arm fast bowler Umesh Yadav has joined the list of Indian players who have raised concerns regarding the quality of the SG Test balls for the last few years and even in the ongoing home Test series.
The matter was actually raised by premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and latter vocally supported by the Indian Captain Virat Kohli, after the first Test against the West Indies at Rajkot.
Ashwin raised the issue about the lack of longevity and not significantly pronounced nature of the seam on the SG ball, by saying, “Right now, I would say Kookaburra red ball is a lot better ball, Dukes is also right up there. Pretty disappointed with the current SG ball. It used to be top-notch, the seam used to stand up strong even after 70-80 overs. It’s not the same anymore,”
And, his opinion was very well supported by his skipper in the press conference where Virat told the reporters present that, “The Dukes ball, I think, is the most suited ball for Test cricket," he cleared, "If there’s a situation I would vouch for that to be used all over the world because of the consistency of the ball and how the bowlers are in the game at any stage, even the spinners, because the seam is so hard and upright.”
"I totally agree with him(Ashwin). To have a ball scuffed up in five overs is something that we haven’t seen before. The quality of the ball used to be quite high before and I don’t understand the reason why it has gone down," he further said and added, "A Dukes ball is still good quality, Kookaburra is still good quality. Whatever limitations a Kookaburra might have (seam goes flat), the quality is never compromised."
Now, Umesh, at the end of Day 1 of the second Test at Hyderabad, said, “If you are saying that lower order has scored runs, then you must realise that in India, with SG Test balls on these kind of flat tracks, you neither get pace nor bounce. So the option to use variations ends,” he reiterated, “So (with SG) all you can do is to bowl one spot but then you will realise that nothing is happening even off the pitch nor is it swinging. So when middle and lower order comes in they know that ball has become soft and it doesn’t come at a pace and batting becomes easier.”
Umesh further talked about the recovery that the visitors had from being 4 down for just over a hundred to 295-7 and said, “Tail-enders know that it will neither swing nor reverse. You just have to wait for something to happen and keep trying. But you can’t really do it on such a big ground, the ones and twos keep coming. And West Indies’ game is like that only,”
Reflecting on the highly unfortunate and untimely groin injury to the debutant Shardul Thakur and how much it impacted the overall workload on rest of the bowlers, Umesh said,
“Had Shardul been there, it would have been more help for the spinners. Like I got three wickets and if he could have chipped in with a couple, it would have only helped our team," he said, "But you can’t really do anything in these situations as this is part and parcel of the game. “If he (Shardul) is not there, I will have to bowl his quota of overs too and I knew he was not going to come back. I didn’t want negativity to creep inside me that we are now one bowler short,” and signed off.
(Inputs from Indian Express)