ICC World Cup 2019: Unfair to say I didn’t perform - Umesh Yadav on World Cup snub
Since the last World Cup, Umesh has had a roller coaster ride, playing only 27 ODIs out of India’s 86. Despite being the highest wicket-taker among pacers in the home ODI series against New Zealand, with eight, he was given just a game or two in series that followed.Updated: Apr 30, 2019 09:51 IST
Back in 2015, during the last World Cup Down Under, Umesh Yadav topped the bowling charts for India. His 18 scalps, including four each in the semi-final and quarter-final, made him the third-highest wicket-taker behind Mitchell Starc and Trent Boult, both with 22.
Four years down, and just a month before the next edition of the quadrennial event, the 31-year old is struggling to find a length and variation that can restrict batsmen even on a wicket such as Ferozeshah Kotla’s where stroke-play is not easy.
The fast bowler, once touted India’s pace phenomenon, has entered the worst phase of his career in a matter of just a few months. He went for close to 10 per over on Sunday evening, an economy rate he is struggling to bring down at this year’s IPL. Umesh was RCB’s go-to man last season. He picked wickets and kept his economy rate within limits.
Ignored for the limited overs tour of SA early last year, he returned for the England ODIs last summer and two home ODIs against West Indies on the back of those IPL 2018 performances. The returns weren’t good and things began to fall away, hitting rock bottom when the selectors ignored him after having promised to include him for the one-dayers in Australia and New Zealand earlier this year.
RCB bowling coach and former India pacer Ashish Nehra feels Yadav’s confidence level has gone down. “Definitely, he is short on confidence (due to) the way his international cricket has gone over the last 4-5 months. He is not part of the World Cup. He is not even among the standbys. It is not easy for any cricketer to take that. Definitely that must be playing on his mind,” the former India left-arm pacer said.
Nehra said Umesh wasn’t getting the new ball right. “Last year that was his success mantra. He was bowling very well with the new ball. I feel the way he was swinging the ball, 70-80% of them were in good areas. (This time) the ball is going down leg. Definitely, he is lacking in confidence.”
Umesh agrees. “Ashish bhai is right. I haven’t been hitting the good areas as often as I was last year. Unlike last year, when I was hitting them 80% of the time, this time, I am hitting them at just 60%. The World Cup snub has been on the back of my mind.”
Since the last World Cup, Umesh has had a roller coaster ride, playing only 27 ODIs out of India’s 86. Despite being the highest wicket-taker among pacers in the home ODI series against New Zealand, with eight, he was given just a game or two in series that followed, the only exception being the five-ODI series in West Indies in 2017 and he did well there.
“When you don’t get opportunities regularly, there is pressure to perform every time. That can wreck anyone. I feel disappointed when I am told that my performance wasn’t up to scratch. I would have accepted if I’d been given 8-9 ODIs at a stretch and then failed.”
In the last one year, Umesh has played just four ODIs, spread over two series.
“I don’t want to comment on selection. All I can say is that I am disappointed because I didn’t get a fair run,” Yadav said.
But as Nehra says, “In this format, you need will more than skill, but what you need most is dil (heart). There is a difference between pressure and fear. Being experienced, he (Umesh) knows where he is lacking. He is not a new guy like Navdeep Saini. He himself knows that he is not bowling at his best. From here on, he should look to make a comeback in the India team.”