Umesh Yadav is a work in progress. The 23-year-old Vidarbha fast bowler was drafted in for this series when the Indian pace attack virtually retired hurt. Back in the scheme of things after playing two matches on his debut series in Zimbabwe in May last year, Yadav is trying hard to make the most of this opportunity.
With the speed gun touching 140kmph regularly when Yadav — the son of a mine worker — bowled, he can be an asset to the side if he can add a bit more accuracy to the raw speed.
He is everything that Ishant Sharma of old was not. He is stocky and puts a lot of shoulder into the ones he lets rip. His showing against England in the first match in Hyderabad wasn't bad and on Monday he followed his two wickets in the opener with two more.
“It's always good to have someone pacy, and who can reverse swing. Umesh has pace and we encourage him to bowl fast. He has been told not to think too much when bowling and just steam in. He is at his best that way,” Virat Kohli said about the Delhi Daredevils pacer.
But with his pace Yadav has very little room for error, especially in sub-continent conditions. He learnt that quickly on Monday when his first over, the first of the bowling Powerplay, went for three boundaries. All three were hit by Ravi Bopara. For the first two, the England all-rounder found the gap with an open face of the bat and they raced to the ropes. He pulled the third to the mid-wicket fence.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni quickly took Yadav out and got him back with the field spread out. He was a lot more effective this time, returning figures of 4-0-14-1, the wicket of Kevin Pietersen to show for the out-swingers he got going.
Yadav’s second wicket in his third spell of 2-0-19-1 was more significant.
He removed Samit Patel, who was looking to stitch a partnership with Jonathan Bairstow. Patel was beaten for pace and was caught in front. That happened two balls after he bowled a wide way outside off which Dhoni managed to stop partially and immediately grimaced in pain.