Umesh Yadav was one of the key contributors for India in securing the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia. The right arm fast bowler was advised two weeks rest by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), just after the conclusion of the test series, so that he can recover after a hard fought series. That’s why the 29 years aged cricketer from Vidarbha could not take part in the first two matches of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). The experienced cricketer, in a recent chat with the CricketSoccer, has unfolded how he has improved his fitness and become a better bowler and what is his aim in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL).
Here are the excerpts:
CricketSoccer: Have you completely recovered after bowling long spells in the series against Australia?
Umesh Yadav: Yes, completely. Australia series involved a very intense cricketing battle. It was very exhausting. So, it was a much needed break for me.
CS: Are you totally match fit now?
Umesh: Of course. One thing I must clarify, I had no injury. I was advised rest so that I can come over the fatigue of bowling long spells in the series against Australia. I’m hundred percent fit and ready to take the field for my IPL team KKR.
CS: You have evolved as a bowler over the last couple of years. How would you describe this change?
Umesh: I have been working really hard over the last 10-12 months. The first thing I was focusing on was getting consistent with my line and length. To ensure that I land the ball exactly where I want to land the ball at will. Then it came to getting batsmen out. These days I keep an eye on batsmen a lot more, observe their footwork closely. I have also started using the crease to develop new angles of delivery this season, especially the last 6-7 months. I first study the batsman, to see what ball is troubling him, which ones he’s comfortable against. On that basis, I prepare my game plan. If you start using the angle then you will become more dangerous with that variation.
CS: Have you made any changes in your bowling?
Umesh: I have made a slight change in the run-up. Different bowlers try different ways to do it. Some just run in straight like they do normally and then jump wide, others start running in from wide. Some corner to corner. It all depends on your jump and landing. It takes some time for your muscles to get used to that movement.
CS: How important is it to be mentally tough as a bowler, especially when the batsman plays aggressively and attacks a bowler?
Umesh: Yeah it’s very important to be mentally strong and calm. These things come through when you start playing a few matches on the trot. Your confidence keeps improving, and you get more match experience. So once I started playing matches continuously, I have become more composed and confident. My confidence level is reflected in my bowling.
CS: What is your fitness mantra?
Umesh: I do a lot of hard work, both on and off the ground. I emphasise on strengthening my Shoulder and back. As a fast bowler, I have to use my body to generate more pace and I never compromised with the pace. I spend a lot of time in the gym. Fitness is, of course, the key. But it’s more about when a bowler is enjoying his bowling and is confident about what he’s doing, things start happening. It’s all a result of the hard work that I have put in over the last 10-12 months.
CS: Do you follow any special diet nowadays?
Umesh: No, I haven’t changed my diet much. I eat what I should as a sportsperson. Avoid sweets, don’t eat much fatty food, only what is required for the body. I have ghee one time a day for sure.
CS: What is your target in this year’s IPL?
Umesh: I want to give my best. Want to be a match winner for my team. I strictly believe that my best is yet to come. I want to make this IPL a memorable tournament for me.