Personal tragedies sometimes can be a great motivating factor. It certainly has been for Vidarbha pacer Umesh Yadav, who now wants to represent the country for his late mother.
Life for Yadav, currently playing for Rest of India in the Irani Cup, has come a full circle in the last one year. The joy of making his India debut in May last year, in the ODIs in Zimbabwe, and getting a Rs3.5 crore deal with Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League turned to sorrow when he lost his mother. He is again upbeat after being selected for the first two one-dayers against England.
The 23-year-old now just wants to perform consistently at the highest level. "After a good domestic season, I was picked for the Zimbabwe tour and even went to South Africa.
Then IPL happened where I didn't do as well but learnt that only consistency at this level will get me ahead," Yadav told HT. Yadav was very close to his mother, who died of liver infection. The loss is too big to be compensated by any reward or recognition.
"I was very close to her. In February, I was playing a game in Tamil Nadu when a phone call changed everything. A family member told me she was no more. No amount of rewards can bring her back, although I have tried to move on," he said.
Yadav, who idolises South Africa pacer Dale Steyn, had a good emerging players tournament in Australia where he bowled at good pace. He realizes that pace is very important in international cricket no matter how the pitches are. "If you can bowl fast and at the same time be consistent with your line and length, then wickets will come even on flat subcontinent tracks."
Many India players are currently injured and Yadav is aware injuries can't be avoided. "It (injuries) will happen. With the amount of cricket we play, it is bound to happen but the effort should be to minimise them and follow a strict fitness regime."
Son of a coal miner, Yadav knows the difference between domestic cricket and playing at the international level where there is huge pressure. Both his temperament and skill will be tested against the crack England side.