Zaheer's advice helped me, says Umesh

Indian paceman Umesh Yadav on Monday said speed was his only virtue before he came in touch with senior pro and team-mate Zaheer Khan, who taught him a few tricks of the trade to improve as a bowler.

Yadav said he learnt a lot from Zaheer during the last Australian tour, which though was disastrous for India as they were routed 0-4.

Yadav, with 14 wickets from four matches, was the second highest wicket-taker behind Zaheer on that tour. “I didn’t know anything much besides bowling fast. Since I started bowling with Zak Bhai, he told me that with my pace, if I can gain a bit of control over the ball, I’ll be a much better bowler and I’ll get many more wickets,” Yadav said.

“That’s what I did in the latter part of the Australia tour -– concentrated more on my line and length than earlier. He had ingrained in me the length that I had to hit, and I constantly kept that in mind before every delivery. I’m still working on it and I have a long way to go,” he said.

“He told me the sooner you learn from your mistakes, the better you’ll get. I always keep that in mind and try not to repeat my mistakes,” Yadav added.

Yadav said the team had a forgettable time in Australia but he returned richer in experience.

“As a team, we didn’t do too well but when I returned home, the only thing I kept in mind was to keep up with the way I bowled there and keep improving on it every day. I was very happy to be going to Australia. It’s a dream of every fast bowler to bowl on Australian wickets. I’m very thankful to Zaheer-bhai,” he told after India’s win against New Zealand in the first Test here.

India returned to winning ways thrashing New Zealand by an innings and 115 runs and Yadav said they would look to carry on the momentum.

“The last two series that we played didn’t go well for us and we were under a lot of pressure ahead of this one. This is a good start to the season and we’ll look to carry on in this vein,’’ he added. Yadav picked a wicket each in both the New Zealand innings as the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha shared the remaining 18 wickets in between them.

The young Indian pacer said they too had a strategy against the Kiwis although the spin duo dominated the proceedings.

“The wicket was not turning that much. Our spinners worked really hard for their wickets. But yes, when bowling on such slow and low wickets, we just try to keep pitching the ball on one side of the wicket consistently. That’s what Zaheer bhai and I did – we just kept bowling the same line and our spinners did the rest of the job,” he said.
Yadav also said that he shares a very good chemistry with Ishant Sharma who came back into the squad after an ankle surgery.

“In this series, Ishant is coming after recovering from a surgery. If that wasn’t the case, surely he would’ve been the first choice since he is more experienced than me,’’ the pacer added.  “When I’m playing, he keeps giving me feedback about my bowling if he feels I’m doing something wrong. We share a very good relationship,” he said.

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