Umesh Yadav © Getty Images
Umesh Yadav took 10 wickets in four matches against Sri Lanka © Getty Images

With the ICC World Cup 2015 just a few months away and an all-important tour of Australia coming up early next month, the focus shifts on the pace bowlers. Given the quality of bowling-friendly tracks in Australia, it is predominantly the fast bowlers who are expected to make a sizeable difference. One of the front-runners for a place in the squad is Umesh Yadav. Ayush Gupta evaluates whether he has the essential qualities.

Over the last few years, India has witnessed a sudden emergence of a few promising fast bowlers in the form of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Varun Aaron, Mohammed Shami, and others. Umesh Yadav is one of these young pacers who impressed right from the start. Although he has been inconsistent with his form, he has been able to bounce back every time he has been given a chance to prove himself.

He was the second highest wicket-taker of the series, just next to Akshar Patel. He claimed a total of 10 wickets from just four matches with an economy of 5.07 and an average of 16.90. His best performance in the series — and also of his career — came in the third ODI when he claimed four for 53.

The fast bowler started his career while he was 19-years-old, and made an impact in the domestic season of 2008-09 claiming 20 wickets. Owing to his impressive performance, he was picked up for Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Delhi Daredevils (DD) in 2010, where he put up an impressive performance once again. He earned his maiden national call during the ICC World T20 2010 in the West Indies, and was later also chosen for the Test series against South Africa in the same year.

However, he had to wait until the end of 2011 to make it to the playing XI. Against the West Indies in the Test series, he picked up nine wickets from two matches and was also given a spot in the squad for the tour of Australia. Although the tour was a disaster from India’s point of view, he was one of the few positives to emerge.

Looking at his performance in ODIs so far, he has proven to be a wicket-taker, but an expensive one, with 47 wickets from 38 matches at an economy of 5.89 and an average of 35.93.

Being a fast-bowler, he has the ability to bowl at speeds of 140 kmph on a regular basis. With the bouncy tracks in Australia, he appears to be a genuine contender and front-runner for a spot in India’s World Cup squad. He could well terrorise batsmen Down Under with his fierce speed and bounce. The selectors ought to be monitoring him closely during India’s upcoming tour to Australia, and would surely like to see how he fares against the Australian batsmen in their own bouncy backyard.

(Ayush Gupta is a reporter at CricketCountry. A passionate supporter of Manchester United, he idolises Roger Federer)