India news August 24, 2013

Bowling fast is my priority - Umesh

ESPNcricinfo staff

Umesh Yadav, the India fast bowler, has said bowling as quick as he can is his priority. He didn't give slowing down his pace a thought, he said, even when he was injured.

"As a fast bowler, I need to have a clear mind about what my priorities are. My strength is to bowl consistently at a good pace and that will always be my aim as long as I play for the national team," Umesh told PTI. "If I have been selected in the Indian team to play across all formats, it is because I have the sheer pace more than anything else."

While he has impressed for the most part in the nine Tests he has played, Umesh has been troubled by a bad back. During the home Tests against England last November, he was the pick of the quicks in the Ahmedabad Test, but was then ruled out of the rest of the series with a stress reaction in his back. He was out of action till the first week of March, and then played the domestic T20 tournament, the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, and the IPL, where he was one of the only bright sparks in a dismal season for Delhi Daredevils. He was not as effective in the Champions Trophy, though, but will remain a key figure for India as they set out on tours to South Africa and New Zealand in the upcoming season.

Returning from injury was a bit tough physically, Umesh said, but did not change his approach to bowling. "Even when I got injured last season, cutting down on pace never ever crossed my mind. Agreed, when you come back, your body asks you a few questions but you should always stick to doing what you do best."

In an era when things are loaded heavily in favour of the batsmen, Umesh said it is important for bowlers to stick to their strengths. "Tell me what new [variation] can a bowler bring to the table apart from what we have seen so far? Whether it is the back-of-the-hand slower delivery or a change in pace, there's nothing new that the batsmen can't counter. So it's more important that we do any one thing consistently.

"I have a natural outswinger and if I can bowl four to five of them at 140 kmph plus every over, I would be satisfied with my effort."