“Virat is a bowler’s captain. He is someone who would throw the ball at you and tell you to set your own field. He asks me what my plan is or whether I need a particular fielder at a position. He backs your instinct and plans. Only if the plan doesn’t work, he would come up and tell that let’s try this. For him the bowler gets to execute Plan A and if it doesn’t click, then Plan B,” Umesh told PTI in an interview.
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He always had a fantastic outswinger in his repertoire but Umesh is now confident that his incoming deliveries are as lethal and which will certainly test Australia in the upcoming series.
“My stock delivery has always been the conventional outswingers at 140 kmp plus speed. But as I have been working hard to develop the inswinger all these years, it’s now finally coming off well which I realise when it releases from my hand,” Umesh said.
Shakib Al Hasan recently said Umesh’s spell on the third morning of the Hyderabad Test was the best he’d played in his career. Asked about the spell and Umesh burst into laughter.
“Yes, I would have termed it a near perfect spell had I got wickets, which unfortunately, I didn’t. But if you look at that spell, I was beating Shakib with away going deliveries for the left-hander, which is an inswinger. The pace was good, I hit the right length and I knew Shakib was rattled.”
Personally, the spell closest to Umesh’s heart is the one against South Africa in 2015.
“In my opinion, my spell against South Africa in Delhi back in 2015 was a touch better. The quality of batsmen were better and they were defending really well which made it more difficult.
“So what exactly did change for me? I believe my experience of using the crease came in handy. Our coach Anil Kumble advised that if I had to take the ball away from the left-hander with fuller deliveries, I need to come wide off the crease and push it through. The wider you go, the better angles you can create for a left-hander, provided you hit the right length,” said the 30-year-old from Nagpur.
“Similarly, when I am bowling to right-handers, I would come closer to the stumps and try to hit a channel where I can make them play more deliveries,” he said.
So what will be his plans for David Warner, and Umesh said: “Against Warner in Australia, you can hit back of the length but here I would like to bowl him a bit fuller. Even in India, you cannot bowl too full as Warner also drives well. So may be a touch fuller than three quarter. Hope I can get my length right straightaway.”
India now have four exponents of reverse swing and Umesh attributed it to team effort in maintaining the shine of the ball.
“On some days after six to seven overs, you realise that conventional swing is not happening, you have to try something different. Then the team needs to work on preparing the ball. You would bowl cross seam to scruff one side up. The fielders would be told to throw one bounce. These little contributions work towards getting good reverse,” he concluded.