'Holding Umesh back was the plan'

'Holding Umesh back was the plan'

 There might have been some eyebrows raised when R Ashwin shared the new ball with Ishant Sharma instead of Umesh Yadav (4/32) and the rationale behind such a move became even more questionable after the Vidarbha paceman ended up being the most successful Indian bowler on the opening day of the first Test here on Thursday.

Indian team’s batting coach, who himself had been a medium pacer, explained the thinking behind keeping Umesh off the attack for 27 overs.   

“Umesh has been to known to bowl well with the old ball,” noted Bangar after the day’s play.

“Even in the series against England, you could see he got a lot of reverse swing. We had held him back, expecting that the ball would reverse-swing pretty early in the innings. It was the precise plan to hold him back and (with) two left-handers at the top of the order, it was the plan to use Ashwin with Ishant,” he reasoned.

Since the last Test match against South Africa in 2015 in Delhi, Umesh has been in impressive form, especially with the old ball. Even on pitches that offer little for the pacers, the strapping paceman has managed to bag wickets, working up good pace and exploiting the reverse swing.

“Definitely he has improved a lot,” Bangar said. “He has improved his balance in the crease, his stride has got a bit shorter, and also his wrist position has got better. Since his lengths are far fuller, he is able to extract that reverse swing. I think he has worked very hard on his bowling and results are there for everybody to see.

“The last couple of Test series that he has played on Indian wickets, he has shown that he can contribute. It’s not just about (number of) wickets but getting the crucial breakthroughs not only with the new ball but also with the old ball. That is why we have been able to enjoy the success as a team in Test format as much as we have got so far.”

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