“I know, I have to be ready when I get my chance,” Umesh Yadav said after snaffling three wickets each in both the innings of the Pune Test. This, mind you, is easier said than done when you have picked up a 10-wicket match haul in the last Test on Indian soil and then have had to warm the benches for a year to don the Indian clothing at home again.
Umesh Yadav was once among the top three Indian pacers in Tests alongside Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma. In fact, he bowled the most overs by an Indian bowler in Test cricket in two consecutive years—2016 and 2017. You might remember how Yadav slogged his heart out in hostile conditions, with the temperatures in excess of 40 degrees, during the 13-match home Test trail which included tough series against Australia and England.
However, with the emergence of Jasprit Bumrah and opportunities being far and few in between, Umesh gradually kept slipping down the pecking order, so much so that he was not even part of the Indian squad for the series against South Africa to begin with. It was Jasprit Bumrah’s unfortunate stress fracture that brought him back in the fold and Umesh, as mentioned at the outset, “was ready when he got his chance”, and grabbed it with both hands.