For many a year, Team India had lacked a quality fast bowler. A fast bowler who would consistently rack up speeds of over 140 kmph while maintaining a good line and length. Javagal Srinath came and went. After that, people like Ashish Nehra, Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma, Varun Aaron did give us hope but soon went away. Some struggled for line, some lost their pace whereas some lost their place in the side. Umesh Yadav too struggled for his line and length. Since making his test debut in 2011, Umesh have erred in his length and in his ability to plan an over continuously. There has never been a doubt about his pace though. Even Umesh himself conceded in 2015 that he was in the Indian side only for his pace. Wasim Akram worked much on Umesh during his stint with Kolkata Knight Riders but its effects were to be seen only momentarily. However, India’s pace machine has redeemed himself in a spectacular way in the home test season. The two bouncers he bowled to young Matt Renshaw, the second one eventually getting him is a testament to the progress he has made.
In the recently concluded home test series, Umesh picked up a wicket in every test match barring one. Considering the fact that much of the matches have been played on spinner friendly tracks with little too few for the pacers, this is a considerable achievement. And this fact alone gives all Indian fans hope that if Umesh can do it on dead tracks, then he may well be up for it in the number of away tests India play in coming years. Umesh Yadav made the Aussie batsmen jump and hurry with his bouncers. One may have to scratch their head for a considerable amount of time to think of anyone else who have done so in the recent years.
If Umesh Yadav’s progress with the ball was a standout, then Ravindra Jadeja’s all round show was another gain for the Indians. Ravindra Jadeja made his test debut in the ill fated England series in 2012 replacing Yuvraj Singh which meant he was expected to perform with both bat and ball. He was coming with three triple tons in his CV after all. But four years on, Jadeja had only a single 50+ score in over 30 test innings. His performances with the ball in home conditions have been praiseworthy as always but he often frustrated fans with his performances with the bat. Keeping aside his rise to the top of the MRF Test Bowlers’ Rankings in this home season, Jadeja’s performances with the bat has caught the maximum attention. It is no secret that Virat Kohli likes to play with five bowlers especially on away conditions. In such situations, Jadeja’s form with the bat is very important. In this recently concluded home season, Jadeja scored six 50+ scores, all of which are match winning knocks. Coming to bat at number 8, a 50 from a number 8 more often than not knocks the confidence out of an opposition. Matthew Wade and Steve Smith had much to say about the test at Dharamshala being the last one for Jadeja for a while since India play a lot of away games in the coming season and Jadeja’s record away hasn’t been an eye catching one. But knowing our Sir Jadeja well, he will anyways take the comment sportingly and try to make the facts correct this time. And by doing so, he may as well find a sponsor for his bat if he hasn’t by now.