Team India, especially in Test has been a force to reckon with. The Men in Blue became the top-ranked team soon after Virat Kohli took over the captaincy and they remained at the helm for five straight seasons. Even today, India are the second-ranked side and are most likely to play the World Test Championship Final for the second time in a row. The reason behind India’s success in the longest format is the crop of fast bowlers the team has produced over the last few years.
The likes of Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, and Mohammed Siraj have been the leading pacers in the past few years. All of them have performed whenever they have gotten a chance. While Ishant is no more in the scheme of things, the other four pacers are actively playing for India at the highest level. However, the most unfortunate name among these has been of Umesh Yadav.
Despite performing every time, Yadav has been warming the bench on most occasions for the sake of maintaining team composition. While Ishant, Shami, and Bumrah used to be the leading pacers for India a few years back, Siraj has successfully replaced Ishant. Meanwhile, Umesh continues to remain that unlucky guy.
While the pacer has made his peace with this fact and is ready to perform whenever the team requires him, this was not always the case. In his initial days, Yadav used to feel dejected and disappointed when he was made to sit out. He used to take his snub to heart so much so that he even did not talk to the then-bowling coach Bharat Arun.
“There are many instances when Umesh was disappointed not being part of the team especially after doing very well. But I had a lot of explaining to do because he would come up to me and say, 'Why have you dropped me? What wrong did I do?' It was a very tough call because there are only that many fast bowlers you could play in terms of what they had done and their form, especially when Shami, Bumrah and Ishant were the fast bowlers with Hardik Pandya to chip in as the fourth fast bowler back when he was playing Test cricket. Umesh was bowling beautifully but was consistently being dropped,” Arun recalled while speaking to Cricbuzz, on their ‘Rise of New India’ show.
“Sometimes he would get so angry that he would not speak to me for a day but then he would come to me and say I understand. Even when I speak to him I say, 'If you are not angry, there is something wrong with you. If it doesn't happen, you are accepting things meekly.' Umesh was magnificent. He was a perfect team man that you would want to have on your side.”