From being born in a lower- middle class Indian family and aspiring to be a constable in Police services to becoming a premier fast bowler in the National Cricket team of his country, Umesh Yadav’s journey to stardom inspires every individual who thinks it’s hard to make it big coming from an underprivileged section of a society. The only thing you need is a bit of luck but lot of willpower. We take you to a journey of how a son of a coal miner turned his luck into big fortune!
As I write this article, the Indian team is engaged in a fascinating Test series with South Africa and the world has stopwatched to view this engrossing battle between top two test sides.
The Indian team has five very talented pace bowlers in Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, all high on quality. Apart from Umesh Yadav, the rest of the bowlers have played at least one Test on this tour. And this is even more surprising considering he was considered as the bowler whose performance was to define the success of the Indian attack in South Africa.
In the previous season in India, he was the only paceman who played in 12 Tests and the way he led the attack when others around him were getting injured was commendable. This season while his performances haven’t been great there are other troubles- Mohammad Shami has been struggling with fitness while Ishant Sharma is still learning to bowl with consistency.
Umesh Yadav is now India’s pace answer to rest of the world. But how did a boy from India’s hottest region turned up to be the fittest and most trusted weapon in India’s pace arsenal? The journey of Umesh Yadav itself is a sensational one.
Tilak Yadav was a coal miner working tirelessly day after day like majority of 1.4 billions of Indians who fight daily to earn their living. He however wanted his son Umesh to have comfortable life and wanted him to join either the Police force or Army .The family lived in one storied house provided to mine workers in town of Kaparkheda , 30 km from city of Nagpur , near the coal mines where Tilak used to work. The area despite being situated in the centre of India is considered to be the most underdeveloped region where 1 out of every 3 farmer over Rs 10,000 debt commit suicide. The chance for cricketers were even slim. In fact till Nov 2011, the region didn’t had a single test cricketer to its name. In such conditions if Umesh aimed to earn decent living by completing the dreams of his father to get into defence force of the country, it was no surprise. As he said “My father wanted me to be a policemen and I was so close to getting the job. I too wanted to get a job and enjoy a basic life. I never thought I’d play for India one day,or see a life of luxury,”
At the age of 20 , an unemployed Umesh was persuaded by his friend to have a go with leather job , with nothing to lose he had a try with leather ball cricket and what happened in next 12 months what sensational , he was playing Ranji Trophy , fours years later in 2011 , at the age of 24 he was bought for 7,50,000 Dollars by Delhi Daredevils and within few months he became India’s 272 test player. Next he was selected for Australian tour in 2011-12. While Umesh picked 14 wickets at cost of 39.55 but he impressed everyone with his speed and bounce . It looked that India had unleashed a real pace potential in him. Life started to change for the burly pacer as he bought bike and one storyed house in his village . Before going to Australia,he bought land to build a new house near Jamtha,close to Nagpur’s VCA Stadium. “I feel secure now,there is nothing better in the world than seeing your family secure,” Umesh said. “There have been days in my life when I didn’t have money in my pocket. I’m thankful to god who changed my life.”His father Tilak took voluntary retirement after Umesh made it to the national side and insisted he’d shoulder all responsibilities.
International Cricket is not so easy as Umesh started to find out especially when you are a fast bowler in India with limited role to play on spinning tracks. Above all these the presence of Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar was the reason of few chances in early years. The rise of Mohammad Shami and Bhuavesnhwar Kumar in 2012-13 season along with his own inconsistent performance coupled with injuries saw him falling down from the radar of the selectors. It took him two years to get another chance at Test level but his performances were sporadiac sometime very impressive and sometime highly disappointing. In 2014-15 Australian tour he leaked 182 runs in 30 overs in the final test at Sydney , thereby getting the ignominy of the most costliest Indian bowler who have bowled 25 years minimum .
The 2016-17 season however proved to be the breakthrough one for Umesh . He was the only quick to have played 12 test matches out of total 13 tests played in that home season. Not only he showed excellent fitness but a very high quality of control on his bowling ,his 30 wickets came at 36.36 in 12 tests. The figures does not proves how well he bowled in those test matches. By the end of season Umesh rose as India’s premier seamer with Mohammad Shami struggling with fitness and Bhvaneshwar Kumar preferred in only helpful conditions.He bowled 355.5 overs in these 12 test matches. Against Australia Umesh was at his best picking 17 wickets at 23.41 which helped them a lot in regaining Border- Gavaskar Trophy. Umesh is now much improved bowler he bowls cutters,slower ones and uses reverse swing and bouncer to good use. He has much paitence and ready to go through the grinds of international cricket to buy wicket.
Umesh stands 1 short of reaching 100 wicket milestone ( he has 99 wickets in 36 tests) , He is one of India’s leading pacemen . One of the favourite players in IPL but when you look at him he looks just another common Indian . He hasn’t changed even after he donned Indian Cap , neither he changed after getting a lucrative IPL deal nor his marriage with Tanya Wadhwa could change him. He is still a simple son of a Coal Miner, who loves leading a common life .