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Umesh: Hope to learn from Morkel at KKR

Calcutta: Things went awry for Umesh Yadav after poor bowling figures in South Africa. He did feature in the squad for the Tests in New Zealand, but wasn’t selected in the XI for any of the matches.

So, Umesh again has to fight to cement his place in the Indian team.

At present, though, the pacer seems to be doing a decent job for Vidarbha at the domestic level.

But he feels that a successful stint with the Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL VII, where he gets an opportunity to bowl alongside Morne Morkel, could help him make a turnaround.

“Well, I’m into a new franchise this year, having spent so many seasons for the Delhi DareDevils.

It’s a new team altogether. In order to make a mark there, my focus will be on improvisation and working further on things I do well.

“It’s still a bit early to think of the IPL because we aren’t yet clear where it will be held. But with fast bowlers like Morkel and (Ranganath) Vinay Kumar in the squad, I feel I’ll have a very good opportunity to learn a thing or two about variations, especially from the South African.

“Besides, Vinay Kumar comes in handy with his slower ball during the death overs. So, I feel KKR have a very strong pace attack that has every chance of making an impact… There are plenty of things to learn from the pacers,” Umesh said after Vidarbha’s practice session, at the Jadavpur University Salt Lake Campus ground, on Sunday.

With eight wickets from three matches so far in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy, the 23-year-old emphasised on the continuous effort he has put in over the last few weeks.

“Look, I’m trying very hard to excel. In the zonal round of this tournament, I took eight wickets against pretty tough opponents.

“But I really can’t do much about being dropped from the (Indian) team. It’s the selectors’ call. Nevertheless, I do believe I’m making a steady progress to be back in focus,” he said.

At the start of his career, Umesh frequently bowled in excess of 140kph, along with Jharkhand’s Varun Aaron. But owing to injuries, it’s Umesh who has had to cut down on his pace on quite a few occasions, something that also affected his rhythm.

“I did hit the 140kph and bowled even faster after returning from injuries. So has Varun. You have take into account the climate in this part of the world, which only makes bowling fast tougher. I’m not giving excuses though. I’m definitely trying to sort it out,” Umesh explained.

Vidarbha coach Sairaj Bahutule, too, agreed Umesh’s presence provides his team an edge over Services, led by former KKR player Yashpal Singh, in Monday’s Vijay Hazare pre-quarters clash.

“If you analyse properly, you will see that Umesh is the only star among the two sides. No wonder his presence provides us with a good balance and an edge as well over our opponents.

“In the first place, our team prevailed over strong units in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh in the zonal round, which is quite creditable… I’m pretty optimistic about our chances,” the former India leg-spinner pointed out.

If Umesh does go on to get his line and length right on the JU Salt Lake Campus ground wicket, which has a fair sprinkling of grass over it, the Services batsmen will be having it very difficult in the middle… That’s for sure…