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Umesh Yadav has a bright future, say former pacers Banerjee, Srinath

Former India pacers Subroto Banerjee and Javagal Srinath believe Yadav can only get quicker and will make the most of the conditions on India's upcoming tour Down Under

Rookie fast bowler Umesh Yadav has played a big part in India's dominant position in the ongoing second Test against West Indies at Eden Gardens. The strapping lad has match figures of four for 59 with India just seven wickets away from bowling out West Indies for the second time in the match.


Bravo, Yadav! India pacer Umesh Yadav (second from left) celebrates
with teammate Pragyan Ojha (left) after taking the wicket of West Indies
batsman Darren Bravo during the third day of the second Test at Eden
Gardens in Kolkata yesterday. Pic/AFP


Though Yadav is playing only his second Test, he was earmarked by bowling coach Eric Simons as a long-term investment when the previous team management headed by Gary Kirsten met at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) after India's early exit in the 2010 Twenty20 World Cup.

Yadav travelled to Sri Lanka and South Africa last year as part of the Test squad. In fact, he was taken to Sri Lanka along with Jaidev Unadkat just for experience. He was tipped to make his Test debut at Centurion against South Africa last December when Zaheer Khan broke down. Unadkat, who got the final nod, failed to strike on debut.

It was the fourth day of that Test and South Africa were well on their way to a comfortable win. Just as the hosts were preparing for the final rites, Simons (also bowling coach of Yadav's IPL side, Delhi Daredevils) was working diligently with Yadav at the Titans academy in SuperSport Park. Yadav repeatedly landed the ball on the spot prescribed by Simons. Both were oblivious to the fact that a Test was underway, their team getting battered by Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. Simons, whose dedication has drawn praise, was silently sowing the seeds for the future.

Yadav's mentor Subroto Banerjee, the former India swing bowler, felt the new management under coach Duncan Fletcher has an affinity for pace. "It is quite clear that he (Fletcher) is opting for pace (with Varun Aaron also in the Test squad). He has been trying to understand the system. He will interfere only if any major alternation is needed (in Yadav's bowling). Otherwise the management is letting him be � a very good sign," Vidarbha Cricket Association's (VCA) bowling coach told MiD DAY.

"Umesh is still very raw. If he goes to Australia, mark my words, he will clock in excess of 150 kmph and take plenty of wickets. I made my Test debut in Australia (in 1991-92) and played eight years of cricket there (club cricket and for New South Wales). I know the conditions there, and I'm very confident that they will suit Umesh.

"He's going to make it very big. I am not exaggerating. He's a very special talent. He has the venom and extra pace. We just have to be very careful in handling him," added Banerjee.

Former India fast bowler Javagal Srinath was excited, but not convinced, just yet. "I was very excited with what I saw (yesterday). It's too early though but he's definitely a very bright prospect. He uses his shoulders a lot, but I think the management has been very wise in using him. They must use him diligently," Srinath told MiD DAY.

"But he's definitely got genuine pace. He can bowl even quicker," added Srinath. Banerjee said that Yadav would "avoid extra advice" and focus on his bowling. "He's only 23 but knows a lot about fast bowling. There's no problem in taking down crucial points (from coaches), but Yadav is the sort who will only grasp what's important. The one thing I know about him is his goal is to clock over 150 consistently. He won't change that or cut that down even if advised otherwise," Banerjee concluded.

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