India fast bowler Umesh Yadav revealed his conversation with captain Virat Kohli ahead of his comeback to the playing XI for the 4th Test at the Oval in England. Umesh returned to the XI for the first time since picking up an injury in the Melbourne Test last year.
Umesh Yadav hadn't played the home Tests against England and missed the World Test Championship final as well despite being in the squad. Umesh was not considered for the first 3 Tests even as youngsters Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Siraj played ahead of him.
However, India decided to rest Mohammed Shami and an injury concern to Ishant Sharma handed an opportunity for Umesh Yadav in the 4th Test. India brought back Shardul and gave Umesh a slot in the XI after they were hammered by an innings and 76 runs at Headingley.
Umesh made the most of the opportunity, picking up 6 wickets in the Test. He gave India an important breakthrough in the first innings, removing in-form Joe Root with a peach of a delivery that seamed in after pitching. Umesh delivered with 3 wickets in the 2nd innings as India bowled out England for 210 and sealed a 157-run victory.
"After the 3rd Test was over and before the 4th Test, I knew I would play the match at Oval. Three fast bowlers were playing and it's difficult to play 4 Tess on the trot for a pacer. In these conditions, fast bowlers have to bowl a lot," Umesh Yadav told Sony Sports.
"Virat Kohli told me to do whatever I did well in the nets. He asked me to just keep that in mind and bowl and asked me not to take too much pressure. He asked me to go with my feel.
"I played the practice game and was feeling good. After that, I focused on my skills and I wanted to execute my plans.'
I tried to give my best when the chance came: Umesh
Umesh also chipped in with the bat, stitching a 63-run stand with Shardul Thakur in the first innings as India went from 127 for 7 to 190 for 8. The tail-ender showcased his improved batting ability, hitting 25 runs off just 23 balls as India posted 466 with handy lower-order contributions.
The senior said he was working hard at the nets, knowing an opportunity will come his way sooner than later.
"When you're with the team, you know you have to focus on the game all the time. When you put in the hard yards in the practice sessions, you know it's a long series and there will be a chance that will be coming your way. I kept that in mind while practicing. When I got the chance, I tried to do my best," he added.
Having taken a 2-1 lead in the 5-match series, India will be hoping to seal the series when they face England in Manchester in the series finale, starting September 10.
Only Test, Tolerance Oval, 28 Feb - 01 Mar 2024
4th Test, Ranchi, 23-26 Feb 2024
3rd T20I, Auckland, 25 Feb 2024
2nd T20I (N), Auckland, 23 Feb 2024