Umesh Yadav turning out to be the answer in Jasprit Bumrah’s absence


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The Indian cricket team was handed a blow when Jasprit Bumrah was ruled out of the T20Is and the ODI series against England in the ongoing India tour of England 2018. Bumrah has been an excellent player in limited-overs cricket since quite some time now and his thinking cap will definitely be missed. But on the evidence of the two games at Old Trafford in Manchester and then at Cardiff, his replacement in the starting XI, Umesh Yadav gave a solid account of himself.
The experienced seamer showed his prowess in picking key English wickets and turning the tables for Virat Kohli’s side. He followed it up with another crucial spell and bowled with a lot of heart in the next game despite India’s defeat.
Having said that, the skipper too acknowledged his efforts and knows that he will have an important time ahead on English soil. Umesh is the sort of player, who looks in the groove at the moment and this is an excellent phase for him in his return to limited-overs cricket.
The new found freedom and the backing of his skipper could get the player chip in consistently in the shorter formats and that’s what the side needs from him in the time to come. So how is shaping up for the side? What could possibly be in store? Let’s have a look at the same.

Umesh has been excellent in the tour

Since the T20I match against Ireland last month, Umesh has been instrumental in lending a voice to the pace attack. Six wickets in three games at an economy rate of 6.33 is a stellar effort. That’s what Bumrah has been doing more than often for India. And now Umesh is continuing in the same path.
In both matches against England, he got the crucial scalps of Jason Roy, who was looking dangerous after getting off to a flier. Umesh should be lauded for keeping a calm head and bowling to the plan. He finally got Roy dismissed with an in-swinging length ball in the first game. In the next game another length ball that seamed inwards after pitching, got Roy castled.
He was also excellent against Jos Buttler in the 2nd game, where he was mentally strong and stuck to the basics. Buttler was dropped before hitting a six, and that did not see Umesh drop his shoulders. In the next delivery, he had his man.

An excellent IPL 2018

The fast bowler had an excellent Indian Premier League 2018 campaign for Royal Challengers Bangalore and that helped him gain the confidence of the selectors. For Kohli too he was an easy option after having managed him well in the global T20 league this year.
The right-arm pacer has seriously worked to be more consistent and he is a different entity now than that of the past when he used to leak runs a lot. In the IPL too, that was a visible scenario. But this season it was a different ball game altogether. He picked 20 wickets at just 7.86 runs per over. Both the wickets and the economy rate column saw a drastic change and there was a visibility of sheer determination and promise.
He bowled really quick in the IPL and in both T20Is versus England, that was notable. This, in turn, has given Kohli the room to go for the attack knowing Umesh can get him the key moments. Umesh is a captain’s bowler and it is essential that Kohli uses him wisely. The Delhi bowler has a chance now to stake a claim in the rest of the limited-overs series and give India a useful platform to gain control.

Umesh has put in the effort

Umesh has always been a handy bowler across all three formats, but of late he wasn’t part of the limited-overs squad. Even in the Test scenario, he missed out on the starting XI berth. But credit to him for working his way back to the side and making use of the chance.
With Bumrah being a vital cog in the limited-overs format in the last two seasons, it has been a difficult time for Umesh, who wasn’t considered even when any other pacer was injured. Bumrah’s ability to pick wickets and be accurate with his efforts has bode well for India. But now Umesh has to keep his belief going strong and not worry about selection.
If he manages to fire consistently, then he could play a prominent role in the ODIs too. That’s where Umesh comes into play. A successful T20I series can mark a way for being in the line-up in ODIs and take the pressure off Kohli.

Umesh enjoying his cricket

He has been bowling towards a single wicket during practice on the advice of Ashish Nehra and that helped him a lot. He is enjoying his cricket and at the moment it seems he is not worried about anything else. He has made a return to action after 2012 in T20Is. That, in turn, shows how much cricket he has missed during this phase. But now it’s a new lease of life.
Interestingly, his last ODI match for India was in 2017 against Australia, where he played a solitary game in the series. Since then we haven’t seen Umesh in limited-overs for the national side. He had an excellent campaign in the 2015 ICC World Cup and was expected to be a major name. But things quite did not work well for him. Perhaps now it is his time to finally make amends.


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