Umesh Yadav, India's right arm fast bowler, was recently seen practicing in the nets with only a single stump to aim at. It is generally done by bowlers to sharpen their accuracy and wealth themselves with consistency at it by training themselves mentally for it. Umesh Yadav is no different but he was pushed to do so by someone very wise.
Umesh who played for Royal Challengers Banglore in the recently concluded Indian Premier League, got the chance to spend those 8 weeks with the former Indian fast bowler Ashish Nehra in the setup. Ashish was being roped in by the franchise as the fast bowling consultant and it helped Umesh immensely.
Umesh was recently quoted saying to the PTI about this as, "We all know the depth of Ashish Nehra's (RCB bowling coach) knowledge when it comes to fast bowling. During this year's IPL, I was able to spend quality time with Ashish paaji. He has given me a lot of technical suggestions during the course of the tournament. Even during IPL, I would pick his brains about the red ball season ahead,"
"Ashish paaji told me that during the spare time after IPL, I should do single stump bowling to increase my accuracy and consistency. I was told to practice 'single wicket bowling' with both SG Test and Dukes keeping in mind the season ahead. His (Nehra) tip is to put one off-stump and maintain the channel,"
It suits Umesh's bowling, as he says, "Since outswinger is my stock delivery, I am trying to land it as close as possible to the off-stump. Nehra tells me that the length that any pacer has to hit with the new ball is same for all kind of tracks (India or foreign). The key to consistency is uncluttered mind. The moment you try too many things, you can mess up. The single stump means that I am only bowling one channel,"
Umesh is still very happy with the ball that he bowled to dismiss Yuvraj Singh. He recalled that ball and said, "Normally, when I bowl to the left-handers, I used to straightaway come round the wicket. An element of predictability was creeping into my bowling, where the left-handers were expecting incoming deliveries. That's why I came over the wicket to Yuvi paaji and bowled a couple of outgoing deliveries. I was really happy that I could generate that kind of pace,"
Umesh is far from the youngster who just ran in without thinking, now. You can see the brain these days behind his balls and for someone as gifted as him, it's a great sign.
"I have realised one thing. Even if you are not consistently bowling inswingers but if you can straighten the deliveries, nothing like it. If I can get the deliveries to straighten after pitching, it can even trouble the best of batsmen."
Umesh is very happy to have become the second highest wicket-taker of the IPL. He said, "Any performer is happy when he successfully executes his plans. I am really happy with my performance in the IPL. It was unfortunate that we could not make it to the play-offs but it was one of my best IPL seasons. Virat had one clear instruction for me. Go for the kill. He told me 'get me the wickets and do not bother about getting hit'. I did as my skipper told me."
Suddenly there are lot of names bowling good fast bowling in the country and its a great sign for a future generation of Indian Cricket but it has made the present very competitive for bowlers like Umesh. He is quite unperturbed by it, though.
"We are five pacers – Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar), (Jasprit) Bumrah, (Mohammed) Shami, Ishant (Sharma) and myself. So it's a happy headache for the team management -- the coach and the captain to pick the best amongst us. I am personally in a very good head space after IPL. My job is to be ready and captain and the head coach have their job"
"We are a close-knit group and even when Bhuvi or Jassi do well, I am proud of their achievements. My job is to be battle ready for the season ahead and I am doing just that,"
(Inputs from Times of India)