After a disappointing return from Australia, Umesh Yadav is proving to be lethal for batsmen

Hailing from Khaparkheda, a small town near Nagpur, Umesh has come a long way since his struggling days.

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Umesh Yadav. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Shubham Ghosh

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A few days ago, Vidarbha pace bowler Umesh Yadav expressed his discontent over his irregular appearance in the national team, saying such inconsistency affects a player’s performance. A year away from completing a decade in international cricket, the 31-year-old’s frustration was understandable and perhaps the Kerala batsmen understood it the hard way in the semi-final of the Ranji Trophy which began at the Krishnagiri Stadium in Wayanad on Thursday. Umesh registered his best bowling figures in first-class cricket in the game by taking seven wickets for just 48 runs as the hosts were bundled for 106.

It was Umesh’s second big performance in as many matches as he claimed nine scalps against Uttarakhand in the quarter-finals to help Vidarbha win by an innings margin. Umesh was picked as the man of the match even as there was another noteworthy performance – a double hundred by his senior colleague Wasim Jaffer.

Umesh got to play only one international game during India’s recent Australia tour but couldn’t produce anything special (just 2 wickets for 139 runs in Perth) even though in the Test before that, he became the first and only Indian fast bowler to take a 10-wicket haul at home (against the Windies).

Pritam Gandhe, under whom Umesh had made his debut for Vidarbha against Madhya Pradesh in 2008 and took four wickets, said the latter was fast but was too raw in his early days and struggled to land even one ball on the target.

‘Umesh was very wayward when he began’

“He was very wayward… I thought if he came closer to the crease and landed even four deliveries in line with the wickets, then I can play him. He was a fast learner too,” Gandhe was quoted as saying by Sportstar.

Gandhe said the pacer didn’t even have spikes for bowling and used to wear shoes with studs on soles. It was them who got him proper footwear and worked on his bowling action.

“I arranged for him to play for Air India in a T20 tournament in Mumbai also… I told Praveen Amre and Narendra Hirwani that they should keep an eye out for him. He’s fast,” he said.

Hailing from Khaparkheda, a small town near Nagpur, Umesh has come a long way since his struggling days and Gandhe played the role of a guide for the youngster then. He moulded him as a bowler and also ensured that he got to play matches and Umesh eventually played as the first Test cricketer from Vidarbha.

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