Paras Mhambrey: Umesh Yadav is the spearhead of our attack
India, having gone down 1-2 in the ODIs recently, now gear up for a crucial two-match Test series against Bangladesh, with the first match to be played at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chattogram from Wednesday, December 14.
The series carries great significance for India, who are currently placed fourth in the World Test Championship 2023 points table, with six matches remaining, with the inaugural season runners-up still in with a fair chance to make it to the final.
India will be led by KL Rahul in absence of regular skipper Rohit Sharma, who sustained a thumb injury during the second ODI last week. While the conditions are largely expected to be spin-friendly, there will be focus on the fast-bowling unit too, with in absence of premier quicks Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.
Bowling coach Paras Mhambrey marked Umesh Yadav as the spearhead in a fast-bowling unit also comprising Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat and Navdeep Saini. Umesh has had scattered chances in Tests over the last few years, having played three Tests each in 2020 and 2021, and just one in 2022, which came January against South Africa.
"Umesh is a very experienced bowler, we know what he brings to the table,” Mhambrey said in the pre-match presser on Tuesday. “Unfortunately, the way things have been, he hasn’t got many opportunities looking at the team balance. We’ve had someone like Bumrah, Shami, we had Siraj in England, and so, he couldn’t get those chances. The team management has had discussions with him, and have spoken to him about why certain decisions have been taken. In that sense, we are very clear in terms of Umesh.
"The other way I look at it is that Umesh becomes the spearhead for us right now. He has a lot of experience going into this Test series. And I’m happy the way Siraj has progressed in Test cricket as well. He has won Test matches for us overseas. So in terms of combinations, a lot is expected out of Umesh, but it’s also a great opportunity for someone like Siraj to fill on. We want him to pick wickets.
"Every Test from here on is extremely important for us, and we want to win every one of them. That’s how we want to play."