|Font Size -||-A+A|
By going wicketless in the first innings of the Delhi Test, Yadav’s miseries mounted in the second essay. The nerves jangled in his run-up, and the deliveries again failed to find the right length. Watching him closely from second slip, VVS Laxman yelled: “Acha dal raha hai, bus thoda aage rakh.” The words balmed over his restless soul and injected just the drug that he desperately needed — confidence.
Having just been told that he is indeed bowling well, Yadav decided to pay heed to the second part of Laxman’s statement. He stuck to his full length line at express pace — 140 kmph — induced a bit of late swing and finished with two wickets, those of opener Kirk Edwards and keeper Carlton Baugh. It was only the beginning of a great show of fast swing bowling on subcontinental tracks.
Going by his last minute success in Delhi, literally, Yadav put his late swinging formula into practice early at the Eden Gardens, and struck with his second ball of the game. With Adrian Barath fishing outside off stump, Yadav’s brisk pace and very late in-cutting angle was heartening from the Indian team’s perspective. And more than his seven-wicket match haul, what would have delighted both Yadav and skipper MS Dhoni is the fact that he managed to reverse swing the leather in both innings of the Kolkata Test.
“I’m happy with the way I bowled, but now I’ve realised the importance of accuracy. I have always had raw pace, but now I’m understanding how to angle the ball in late in that speed. That has been a real weapon,” Yadav told The Indian Express after the second Test. “Speed is not everything. I always had speed, but didn’t know what line to bowl. I learnt to angle the ball in only during the Ranji Trophy and that is helping me a lot now.”
This line was exemplified in his third dismissal of the first innings, when he shattered Marlon Samuels’ furniture with a scorching swinger. As Samuels played down the ground, Yadav’s 144 kmph delivery swung away from a good length position and knocked off his off and middle stumps. In the second innings, Shivnarine Chanderpaul too misjudged his weapon, thinking it would carry in a straight line after pitching. The ball deviated drastically in the air, and took an inside edge of Chanderpaul’s willow on to the wickets.
“When a bowler of his pace can make the ball do a little in the air on off the seam, he will be very very effective,” says former India fast bowler Subroto Banerjee, who has been working on adding that ‘little something’ to Yadav’s bowling at the Vidarbha Cricket Association. It’s Yadav’s seam position, he claims, which helps him find that dreaded movement.
“Even late swing is of no use unless it is pitched on the correct line and length. Yadav always had that late swing, but without proper pitching it was of no use and always landed on the pads,” Banerjee said. The coach says he kept it simple with Yadav, asking him to pitch it full and on the seam. The ball, he said, would do the rest. “Batsmen usually doesn’t like to negotiate swing on the front foot and that’s the area a bowler of Umesh’s quality has the best chance,” Banerjee adds.
But consistency and a few more variations, the 24-year old feels, will be key from here on. The quick is currently learning the art of getting the old ball to swing away from the right handers, and Yadav is hopeful that he will master it with more practice. He bowled a few outswingers to Chanderpaul, but they were easily driven away by the front-on veteran.
“He needs to work on a few more small things, but he is sure to pass more tests as time passes,” says Banerjee. “He has passed the first one; Umesh will not be nervous anymore.”