India’s star paceman Umesh Yadav on Wednesday, November 27, said it is difficult to deal with the negativity and be positive when being sidelined from the national side.
He was picked occasionally across formats over the last two years, Jasprit Bumrah’s injury opened the door for Umesh and he made the most of the opportunity, emerging with the most wickets, the best strike rate and the best average among Indian pacers Mohammad Shami and Ishant Sharma.
The fast-bowler, who has enjoyed a great home season, taking 11 and 12 wickets against South Africa and Bangladesh respectively, revealed how the insecurity troubles the mind when things don't go well. But he was always confident of getting again picked to the national side.
Umesh told PTI, “It becomes boring if you sit out and then certain thoughts that you don't want creep into your system. Why I am not playing? What's happening? It becomes difficult to keep yourself positive, train hard and keep yourself ready.”
He continued, “I knew my chance will come if I am fit since there are so many matches in the calendar. You need to wait since the pace unit was doing really well. All four of us are now at a level where you can't predict which three will play at one point in time.
It's because of healthy competition. I believe it's a great thing that we are being rotated and played, because of which our longevity has increased and we are producing more match-winning performances. Whoever does well will be a part of the team. It is important to grab your chances with both hands as and when you get them. When I see Bumrah, Ishant, and Shami, I try to learn from them. The learning never stops.”
On his overseas record, Yadav said: “Usually the conditions where you play more, you get an idea of those conditions and you start executing plans well. Yes, I agree a perception grows that this particular bowler is good in Indian or maybe Asian conditions.”
The bowler reasoned, “But then if you play more in English conditions, you will do well there. Outside the subcontinent, I have played very fewer matches in England, New Zealand, and South Africa. The only place where I have played a few Tests in Australia. So, maybe that has led to this perception since fewer games mean a lesser number of wickets.”
The paceman also said he is constantly looking for ways to intimidate batsmen, adding: “When you start bowling from the same spot, you tend to become predictable. The batsman knows that this is a bowler who will hit one particular length and they can manage.”
He explained, “When you use crease, you start using angles. From closer to stumps, the ball comes straight and then moves so the batsman is able to leave the ball. But if delivered from wide off crease, it comes in with the angle and then might straighten or even move away. That is a bigger challenge as the impact is on the stumps.
So as a fast bowler, if you don't use the crease, you can't create doubts in a batsman's minds that how much will the ball swing and they commit mistakes.”
On being asked how important it is for him to develop an inswinger, Yadav said: “To develop a new skill needs hard work but there is a flip side to it. While developing a new skill, there is a possibility of you losing something that comes naturally to you. I have seen many bowlers lose their stock outswing delivery trying to develop inswing.”
The bowler continued, “So I believe that if I am getting my out-swingers right, I should keep working on it. In the process, if I can perfect the delivery that straightens after pitching, nothing like it. So one needs to put in some thought before one does it.”
Not only speed scare the batsmen, but “It's accuracy and consistency along with a 140-plus pace that creates trouble for batsmen. I believe the amount of swing our unit got along with the hard lengths that we hit, has made all the difference as batsmen are thinking how to counter this.”
On the experience of the historic Pink-ball Test, Yadav said: “It's a mixed feeling. We enjoyed as the ball did a lot but then some issues like sighting for batsmen and all need to be factored. Whether we should play more depends on BCCI.”
He also said it is really satisfying to watch when batsmen struggle with pace. Yadav signed off by saying, “Look the good batsmen are never scared. But yes, if you know some technical weakness and attack that area, you can put him in a spot. That's satisfaction if you can play with the mind of a quality batsman, seeing him struggle.”
(With PTI Inputs)