‘Want to be consistent in all three formats’ — Umesh Yadav
A brilliant spell from a fierce Umesh Yadav was complemented by the Royal Challengers Bangalore batsmen as they registered their first win of IPL 2018 by defeating Kings XI Punjab by four wickets.
Over the past two years, India have earmarked Umesh as a Test bowler, only rarely using the pacer in their one-day plans. On the recent tour of South Africa, he slipped down the pecking order in the five-day game as well, with Virat Kohli preferring Test debutant Jasprit Bumrah over him.
But having joined Kohli in Bangalore for this year’s IPL, Umesh, coiffed in a new hair-do, showed old smarts and fire, brilliantly setting up a Punjab collapse. It started well for Punjab, with KL Rahul leading the charge at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru on Friday, April 13. Umesh then struck thrice in the fourth over to reduce them to 36-3.
“The first wicket of Mayank Agarwal, I was aware of how to get him dismissed,” explained Umesh after the match. “I had played a lot against him in the past four-five months (in domestic cricket) where I had taken his wicket on many occasions. I was trying to bowl straight into the stumps. The first ball I kept high to tempt him into a big hit, and he couldn’t connect properly.
“The second wicket of Aaron Finch, I knew he struggles against inswing at the start.
“And the last wicket of Yuvraj Singh, I thought of bowling two good length deliveries first and then I went for a bouncer, followed by another good length delivery. I think whatever I had planned, I executed it well and that is how I got success,” he said.
Umesh bowled a lot of good length deliveries straight into the stumps, never letting batsmen settle. He finished with match-defining figures of 3-23, and gave credit to his bowling coach, Ashish Nehra, for helping his confidence.
“[Nehra] asked me to try bowling straight into the stumps. He told me to utilise my pace and attack the batsman. So, I tried to bowl in the right areas and hit the right length. That’s what he had made me practise for,” he said.
With that added confidence, Umesh is keen to resume bowling – and bowling consistently – in all formats.
“There’s a tag that I bowl well in Tests. In Tests, you have time, and if one has pace and your ball is swinging both ways, then you have that talent [of bowling in Test cricket],” Umesh pointed out. “In red-ball cricket, the chances of swinging the ball are more. But there’s no dislike for white-ball cricket.
“As a fast bowler, I want to play in all the three formats for the country because I like playing in all the three formats … I have been trying, whether the bowl is red or white, to bowl with the same accuracy, because when you bowl with a new ball, the length in all the three formats is the same.”