Umesh Yadav believes Zaheer Khan's presence will help his grow as bowler

Umesh Yadav (above) said Zaheer Khan’s advice in match situations are invaluable as he is a brilliant reader of opposition batsmen © Getty Images

By Kushan Sarkar

New Delhi: Nov 25, 2013

Indian pacer Umesh Yadav is relieved that he is back in the scheme of things but the bigger reason for his happiness is that senior pro Zaheer Khan will be around during India’s upcoming tour of South Africa to guide the junior bowlers.

“Zaheer has had a great influence on youngsters with his ability to guide us through the bump and grind of international cricket. I have got a lot of valuable tips on fast bowling and there is no better exponent of reverse swing than Zak. He is like a mentor to us and it is an honour to play international cricket alongside him,” the 26-year-old Vidarbha pacer told PTI on Monday.

“Zaheer’s advice in match situations are invaluable as he is a brilliant reader of opposition batsmen.”

Umesh, who has played nine Tests and 26 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) for India, was confident that he will be selected in the Test team but to be recalled in the shorter format has been like an icing on the cake.

“I had a gut feeling that I will be selected for the Test series but I had kept my fingers crossed for the ODIs. I am really happy that selectors have shown faith in me by giving me a chance in the ODI squad as well,” the fast bowler added.

“Since I have the pace, my bowling is suited to conditions where the pitches offer pace and bounce. I have also played in places like Durban in the Champions League T20 for Delhi Daredevils. So, I have the experience of bowling in South Africa.”

Umesh had last played for India in the ODI tri-series in West Indies last July, after which he was dropped following some ordinary performances in the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy.

“I have no complaints about being dropped from the squad.

“If I am honest to myself, I wasn’t really bowling well during the Challenger Series and it was a fair enough decision. There were certain chinks in my bowling and I needed to take corrective measures,” said Umesh seeming pretty forthright in his self-assessment.

Umesh went on to explain the specific technical problem that had cropped up in his bowling.

“For a fast bowler, the crucial aspect is one’s non-bowling arm. After speaking to the coaches, I realised that the position of my left arm during my delivery stride is posing a problem. The left arm should remain firm and straight. The moment it wavers, the length of the delivery gets disturbed. That’s what was happening with me,” Yadav said.

“It was Eric sir (former India bowling coach Eric Simons), who had first told me about this aspect. During the period that I was out of the team, I worked with Subroto sir (former India pacer Subroto Banerjee) on this aspect.

“What we call hitting the right length is different for different bowlers. Along with my coach, I was trying to find the right length on the ‘fourth channel’ — they are just outside the off-stump of a batsman. I have been working on hitting that right length and I am happy with my progress so far,” he stated.

He has often been accused of being erratic despite being one of the fastest in India apart from Mohammed Shami but Umesh again reiterated that he is not compromising on pace.

“None of the coaches have told me to cut down on pace and neither did this kind of a thought cross my mind. If I can swing the ball at a brisk pace, it’s only going to be an asset for me,” said the speedster, who is unsure about playing Vidarbha’s next Ranji Trophy away encounter against Mumbai, starting November 28.