Umesh Yadav’s 10-wicket haul in the second Test against West Indies may have earned him a place in the playing XI when India start their Test series against Australia in December. Captain Virat Kohli singled him out for praise for his performance. “I think it was a standout performance in his career and something that he can build on,” said Kohli in a press conference after the second Test.
Kohli had said earlier in the post-match presentation that Umesh’s effort was especially noteworthy because of the conditions. “Four Tests in Australia can be brutal because the (Kookaburra) ball does not do much like in England. So you have to come in and run in all day and hit the right area with pace. But I think from that point of view, Umesh is right up there to be featuring in Australia,” said Kohli in the press conference.
Umesh bowled more than 35 overs in the humid conditions in Hyderabad over the two West Indies innings and the fitness levels he exhibited could make him a contender for starting in Australia alongwith the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami. “Because he (Umesh) has got the pace, he has got the fitness levels to run in all day, picks up wickets at crucial times and he gets good bounce as well, so it’s a great headache to have. Obviously, all four guys, when they are touching 140 and when they are taking wickets for you, it is obviously something that any captain would like to have.”
Umesh was also playing without Shardul Thakur backing him up. “I thought with Shardul breaking down very early, to bowl like that in both innings was a great effort on his part. It showed the kind of fitness levels he had, to keep running in and bowl 140 clicks throughout the game and picking wickets and not just completing overs,” said Kohli.
The Indian captain also said that Umesh may have finally come to a point where he “understands” bowling in the long format better than ever. “Not many people realise but he is a very, very talented bowler. He can bowl you unplayable deliveries every now and then which we experience in the nets all the time. He will just bowl a ball which you feel you couldn’t have done anything else except getting out. He is gaining more confidence about his own game. He has come a long way. It’s a great sign. Bowling is something that we need to keep as a major strength for us in order to feel that we have a chance to win series when we travel away from home as well. I think these guys (Umesh, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar, Shami and Ishant Sharma) are taking responsibility well,” said Kohli.