India v Bangladesh, only Test, Hyderabad, 3rd day February 11, 2017

Umesh's spell the best I have faced - Shakib


A glance at the scorecard will tell you Umesh Yadav's first spell on day three of the Hyderabad Test fetched the wicket of Monimul Haque. What it won't tell you is the pressure he maintained during the course of a nine-over spell which Shakib Al Hasan, who made 82, termed "the best spell" he has faced in his career.

Shakib said Umesh's late movement both ways on an unresponsive deck made it hard to lay bat on ball. Although he scored 30 off the 34 balls he faced from Umesh - five boundaries included - just how he made Shakib grope and feel for the ball that he yo-yoed away at pace and got it to reverse, added to the intrigue. He also mixed up his deliveries with cutters. There were bouncers too, mostly accurate.

There were moments when it seemed Umesh would run through the batting line-up, but had to settle for just the one wicket. The pressure he built up, however, resulted in a wicket at the other end when Mahmudullah was prised out by Ishant Sharma.

"Obviously he was bowling really well," Shakib said. "It was probably the best spell I have faced in my career. The way he was moving the ball both ways, it was tremendous. All credit goes to him. I was thinking I need to be positive at that time. If there is a ball to hit, I will obviously hit it and the rest I will play with soft hands, and make sure that I don't nick it.

"There was nothing much on the pitch. Because we play at Kolkata Knight Riders, I know him very well. Probably this was the best spell I have faced in my Test career. The way he was moving the ball both ways, some balls were unplayable. I am lucky that I survived his spell."

Umesh actually found reverse swing from the 14th over, which was the last over of the second day. His ability to swing it both ways with the conventional method gives him the advantage of getting maximum out of a ball that reverses.

"Ishant bowls slightly back of a length. Umesh's length allows him to swing the ball with the new ball and also with the old ball," India's batting coach Sanjay Bangar said. "He's worked a lot on his wrist positions and balance at the crease Ever since the Delhi Test match against South Africa, you've seen him giving the breakthroughs that the team requires.

"Our seamers Umesh, Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar), (Mohammed) Shami and Ishant have chipped in with the crucial wickets right at the top or in the middle part of the innings where the spinners were not able to get the breakthrough. So I think the reason for that many Test victories is not only the contribution of the spinners but the small contributions the fast bowlers have made. That's why someone like Umesh stands out because I believe that he's the most improved bowler in the last season and a half."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • abhima9024584 on February 14, 2017, 21:24 GMT

    Totally agree here with @TESTCRICROX here. We most definitely do indeed need a pace oriented mentality \ psyche \ mindset.

  • laksvi5642713 on February 12, 2017, 9:42 GMT

    @ KAPILSDEVILS1983 ON FEBRUARY 11, 2017, 16:01 GMT - wonderful buddy, good to see us acknowledging the praise that the opposition has given us...well said @ CHRIS_P ON FEBRUARY 11, 2017, 21:01 GMT - always a pleasure to read your posts especially in light of the usual indo-aus serial chest thumping that goes on ....& yeah i was an umesh yadav fan too from that tour of aus in 2012, but from memory he was quick&close to 150kmph then, but bowled a lot short &too one dimensional-warner/smith just picked him off....i kept harping on these blogs for a specialist pace bowling coach-but sadly our manaement does not place any attentiont to pace, its almost an after thought...which is exactly why we donot do so good when clear the SC airspace.... just feel umesh and ishant have so much to offer, if channelled properly like how craig mcd did with aus pace in 2012-13.... any excitied to have aus on our backyard, hoping for an exciting series and good blogging, plz publish cricinfo

  • laksvi5642713 on February 12, 2017, 9:32 GMT

    Firstly, its wonderful of such a gr8 player like Shakib hasan to acknowledge this spell....kudos to him.... @ BENNY_L ON FEBRUARY 12, 2017, 3:15 GMT & 3"21 GMT - good points of discussion buddy... @ CRICMYSTIQUE ON FEBRUARY 12, 2017, 0:14 GMT - yes, for us to win outside of SC or lets just say loose lesser outside the SC, the bulk of the 20 wickets need to be taken by pacers, Umesh and Ishant are still young and definately are pitching it up a bit more...but yeah...need to run through a side and do this very quickly... In the misdst of our successful home season (so far), its spinners who are winning it for us, though the pacemen have contributed but look @ our typical media hype-not much credit given to them...this should change by appointing a specialist bowling coach like the ones u suggested.... we need a pace oriented mentality/psyche/mindset, our media needs to change in that aspect-but so must our cricketing setup, our pitches, our admin , thinking etc, cricinfo plz publish

  • dickso9252656 on February 12, 2017, 8:26 GMT

    When BD players don't acknowledge good players' good spells or innings', they are immediately said to be arrogant. When they do, they are criticised for their humility. No pleasing anyone.

  • Nitin on February 12, 2017, 4:06 GMT

    Wondering why is it difficult for some people to appreciate other nations' players - one an earlier forum on SA-SL series there was a fan(atic) who immaturely asked one Indian commentor to ONLY post on Indian forums.

    Cricket is just a game to bring everyone together - IPL, BBL have helped in collaborating with other nations' players - let's enjoy it and have the courage to appreciate players even if they are our opponents !!

  • Nat on February 12, 2017, 3:21 GMT

    US_INDIAN, Ishant's bowling has improved a lot since that Lord's test. Yesterday he bowled better than Bhuvi and kept chugging away with awkward bounce and movement. His line, length and pace are not too bad, just the wicket columns doesn't reflect the improvement. Once the fast-bowling unit clicks as a group, these can be match-winning traits. At the time being, he is our 3rd best all-conditions bowler and I haven't seen any one coming up the ranks.

  • Nat on February 12, 2017, 3:15 GMT

    CRICMYSTIQUE, Agreed with you totally. Bowling is our scapegoat for all occasions, when India bowed out of T20 World cup in 2008, bowling coach's head (Prasad) was the first to roll, although T20 is a batsman's format. And he was doing a good job until then, building a good bench strength. Umesh & all our Indian bowlers need that career defining spell, to be deemed as a threat in fans & oppositions mind. Once you instill fear in their minds, half the battle is won. However for some reason, our pace bowlers don't make that leap of running through a lineup. But no doubt they are as talented as many bowling lineups, I think it is the mindset of being second-line of attack fueled by playing conditions and Indian fans attitude pulls them down. Everytime, a fast bowler shows self-belief & aggression, our fans try to pull them down saying you are no Steyn or Starc. Sometimes that attitude precludes strong performance, it is as if we expect our fast bowlers to be soft and humble

  • CricMystique on February 12, 2017, 0:14 GMT

    At last an article/post about an indian quick doing well, for solong on the rare occasions when our pacemen do well, it usually gets buried inthe useless&meaningless spin&batting oriented hype that our media bombards us with as our psyche is batting first, spin next&if any time/energy left, lets consider pace....this because frankly we donot care about defeats outside the SC, whilst tend to gloat on home wins. my rant over, yes umesh is bowling good,the main difference is he is bowling a tad fuller-this wasnoticable since the 2015-SL series in SL, still needs to pitch it up fruther&not just bang it in ball after ball like what/ishant did in both aus tours of 2012& 2014& get hammered out of sight... this is where we need a specialist bowling coach like A donald, troy coley, saker, gillespie, craig mcD...umesh is going to hit 30 soon, needs to get that career defining spell soon, else it will be too late and he will be biggest waste of talent since L siva in 80's, cricinfo plz publish

  • hemant5961337 on February 11, 2017, 22:46 GMT

    sometimes a bowler job is to maintain the pressure ...Umesh yadav has done this for a long time which allowed shami from the other end to take wickets ....if wicket only matters for a bowler in cricket...then they are not cricketers they are fantansy viewers ... if we look into the 2015 world cup umesh yadav has the lowest economy rate in the first 10 overs its almost under 3 .. and the bad thing is he couldn't get the wickets ... he maintained that pressure for batsmen where batsman has no choice but to go for the other bowler in this case it was shami but he was much more intelligent in these kind of situations he knows exactly where to bowl after umesh maintained that pressure ...totally we call this as team work

  • Shabbir on February 11, 2017, 22:28 GMT

    Nothing wrong in Shakib feeling the spell by Umesh was the best he has faced. It shows real class and humility to acknowledge this. Also it doesn't necessarily mean that Umesh is a great bowler, it just means that his bowling at that time was specifically very intense. Son comments from IND fans seem to find criticism in anything. One minute BD players are accused of being arrogant the next minute they are criticised for their humility.

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