Going unsold at an IPL auction must have been the 'hardest time' for Umesh Yadav: Dinesh Karthik
Impressed with his first-innings burst in the spin-dominant Indore Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Dinesh Karthik heaped praise on Indian seamer Umesh Yadav for what was a great performance on his comeback Test.
After missing the first two games, Umesh came roaring back at his opportunity in replacement of the rested Mohammad Shami and produced a reminder of what he is capable of as an enforcer. The right-arm seamer bagged figures of 3/12 inside five overs to wrap up the Australian innings under a lead of 100 when they looked ominous.
Being questioned, benched and making comebacks into the side has been a reoccurring theme of Umesh Yadav's career, wherein the pacer has been criticised for lack of control and consistency but has kept himself relevant as an enforcer, especially in Indian conditions.
Karthik traced the journey of the 'Jamtha Express' and recalled the times when it was his ability to run and clock 145 kmph consistently that caught the selectors' eyes and got him fast-tracked into the Indian set-up back in 2011. Umesh, the son of a coalmine worker, wanted to become a police officer to help his family overcome poverty. But as life would have it, he became one of the seamers integral to the Indian team.
Dinesh Karthik on Umesh Yadav's journey, IPL struggles
"You have to understand his roots," said the veteran wicketkeeper-batter on Cricbuzz special show 'Rise of New India'. "He is a coal miner's son, tried being part of the police academy. That did not work out and then he went into fast bowling and his growth rate at that stage, from 2008, when he started playing for Vidarbha, he made it to the Indian team in 2010, that's a growth fast rate."
"Then he kept going still a certain point and the plateaued. When it happens to any cricketer, you feel hard done by. He is no different and he must have felt sad."
"When you have an attack like Bumrah and Shami, the third one was always between Ishant and Umesh and a lot other times it would be Ishant, Shami and Umesh. But when they played two medium pacers in India it became Ishant and Shami at times," he added on Umesh's inconsistent opportunities, which the cricketer can argue have been a plague on his growth.
Not being selected for matches despite approaching his prime years would've been really tough to handle for Umesh, Karthik stressed, adding that the initial ignorance of IPL franchises to consider him at the 2022 auction must've only ruffled up the wounds. The cricketer never complained, though, as a backdoor entry to the tournament with his former franchise Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) led to one of his better campaigns.
"He was always overlooked at times and that must have really hurt him because every time he came in he produced a two or three-wicket performance but was never good enough to hold on to that place. You know he was thrown out...I think the hardest time was when he was unsold at an auction. That must have hurt him really bad," Karthik said.
Umesh was one of KKR's big positives from an unsuccessful IPL campaign for the two-time champions. He picked up 16 wickets in his 12 matches and had an impressive economy rate of 7.06. The performance was so good it earned him a surprise call-up to India's T20I squad in the build-up to the last year's T20 World Cup.