Yadav resumes training, likely to be ready by April
Umesh Yadav, the injured India fast bowler, has resumed training and is hoping to be ready to bowl at full pace in April. He began bowling off a few paces on February 25, and will get to 30-40% intensity next week. Yadav last played in November, in the Test against England, where he was the most impressive fast bowler from either side, and has been out of action since with a "stress reaction" of the back. He was thankful that it was detected, for it could have developed into a stress fracture had the workload continued.
"It's all better now," Yadav told ESPNcricinfo at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, where he is undergoing rehabilitation. "I started bowling this Monday, for the first time in one-and-a-half months. The pain is gone now; now I have to train again and gradually start bowling at 100%."
Yadav hasn't been given a certain time frame by which he can expect to be back in action. "Have just resumed training so it will take time," Yadav said. "It's not like I can start bowling immediately now that the pain is gone. Will have to take this slowly. Next week, I will start bowling in the ground, at 30-40%. Then we will decide how much more I should do in the week after that."
There had been a major concern that it was a stress fracture that kept Yadav out. This may not have been a stress fracture, but Yadav has endured one in the past, one that he successfully came out of three years ago. That recovery three years ago is reason to hope Yadav will not lose out on his pace when he does make his comeback.
"This was not a stress fracture," he said. "This was what we call a stress reaction, which happens with too much load on the back, but it is good we came to know of it early because if you keep adding onto it, it can result in a fracture too. That would have taken at least six months to recover from.
"I had a stress fracture three years ago, but I bowled at the same pace when I came back. It's more a mindset. My mindset has always been to do what comes naturally to me. I am not going to change my natural pace."
The last month and a half has been difficult for Yadav. "When a fast bowler is out of the ground, there is a different kind of pressure on the mind," he said. "You are watching others play, but you can't play. 'Oh no, why can't I play?' Then again it's important to train your mind to be patient. After an injury, it is important to control yourself when you have been asked not to do what you have always loved doing. Now also - even though I have been patient for this long - I need to take it gradually for another month or so."
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo