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Umesh Yadav

The fast track from Khaparkheda

The first Test cricketer Vidarbha has produced doesn't merely bowl quick - he got to the big time in a hurry too

Abhishek Purohit

June 8, 2012

Comments: 124 | Text size: A | A

Umesh Yadav grabbed three wickets, Delhi Daredevils v Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2012, Delhi, May 15, 2012
Umesh Yadav: humble beginnings © Associated Press
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A friend persuaded Umesh Yadav, 20, with no college degree or job then, to try leather-ball cricket. Yadav had nothing to lose.

A year later he was playing in the Ranji Trophy. Less than three months after that, he had dismissed Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman in the Duleep Trophy. At 22 he was playing for India. At 23 he had been bought for $750,000 in the 2011 IPL auction. At 24, after a promising tour of Australia, he was being hailed as India's answer to the fast bowlers who had terrorised the country's batsmen for decades. It is a fairytale, not quite in the league of Iqbal, but unlike the movie, it is real, and worth a trip to Nagpur in the May heat.

The hot wind of the dreaded Vidarbha summer stings as I get off the plane at Nagpur airport. It is 36° Celsius. At 8.15 am. I scurry for the airport bus. Even the thought of bowling fast appears suicidal. I head for Khaparkheda, a small town about an hour from Nagpur, where Yadav has built a two-storeyed house in which he lives with his father, two older brothers and their wives and children.

Nagpur, the geographical centre of India, is steeped in history. It also appears stuck in the past - a great city that has not quite cashed in on the liberalisation of the country's economy. Nagpur is the largest city of the underdeveloped Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. There has been a long-standing demand for separate statehood for Vidarbha. Neglect is widespread; farmer suicides are common.

Vidarbha is a cricketing backwater as well. The team plays in the Plate League in the Ranji Trophy, where players usually toil in near-anonymity. Pritam Gandhe, Yadav's captain on Vidarbha debut, never got an India chance despite his 340 first-class wickets. Yadav is the first Test cricketer the team has produced.

When I get to his house, I find him in the courtyard, wearing a Delhi Daredevils practice jersey; his father wears an India one. In the sitting room are two photographs of Yadav's mother on the wall, including one with Yadav. She died over a year ago of a heart ailment.

"She used to ask only whether I had had proper food and rest, and whether I was fine," Yadav says. "Never asked how I had bowled, how many wickets I had taken." Cricket wasn't exactly a priority for the family. Yadav's father used to work in a coal mine; his oldest son moved to Goa to work in a shipyard after his wedding.

Life was tough. Yadav grew up in the small dwelling allotted to his father in Valli, a mine-workers' settlement of 5000-odd people, about five kilometres from Khaparkheda, approached by a narrow side road. Valli has several run-down one-storeyed buildings, housing small tenements. It is one of those places where a car earns stares.

Numerous turns through semi-paved and unpaved lanes bring me to the house in which one of India's quickest bowlers spent his childhood. Yadav used to play cricket in the street outside his house, or on a ground a few hundred metres away. He says he is the first from Valli to have played with a leather ball.

Yadav gave up on his studies after class 12. Though his father did not want any of his sons to work in a mine like him, he asked Yadav to do something with his life, saying there was a limit to how long he or Yadav's brothers could take care of him. Yadav attempted to get into the services but the army rejected him early. He missed out narrowly on becoming a police constable. Like any boy barely out of his teens, he didn't know what to do.


The house in which Umesh Yadav lived in Valli, Nagpur
The house where the Yadavs lived before they moved to Khaparkheda Abhishek Purohit / © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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He would bowl fast in tennis-ball cricket tournaments. But you don't make a living out of tennis-ball cricket. If his team won a tournament or he got a Man-of-the-Series award, it meant about Rs 8-10,000 for him - about two or three months' expenses taken care of.

He tried to get into his college team but was turned down because he did not play for a club. It spurred him to take up club cricket, though still with the tennis ball. "Woh din tha aur aaj ka din hai. Khelna shuru kiya to ruka hi nahi main. (That day to this day. Once I started playing, I never stopped)," Yadav says.

Tennis ball was one thing, destiny was to push him towards taking up proper cricket by denying him a position in the police constabulary. "In the physical examination, I had about 94 or 96 out of 100," Yadav says. "In the personal exam, I went out by two points as I had not completed my graduation. It was good for me that I missed out. A few months later, I started leather-ball cricket. This was around 2007-08. If I had got through the police entrance, then [cricket had] no chance.

And so he signed up for Vidarbha Gymkhana and arrived to bowl in a one-dayer. Wearing shoes with studs on their soles. "I didn't have spikes then. I bowled ten overs in studs in that game and had 3 for 37." Word got around to the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) about this new bowler who was genuinely quick and had a sharp yorker. An official was sent to watch Yadav bowl in a T20 game. "I bowled a lot of yorkers at the death and had two or three batsmen bowled," Yadav recalls.

The VCA had seen enough. The Nagpur team had made the semi-finals of the inter-district three-day tournament, to be played a few days later in Amravati, about 200km from Nagpur. "They asked me, 'Will you go to Amravati?' I said I can go anywhere to play cricket. I was asked to pack my bags and report two days later."

Yadav began with three wickets in the first innings of the semi-final. Eight more came in the final. Gandhe, the Vidarbha captain, who had two decades of first-class cricket behind him, recognised a talent when he saw one. He arranged for Yadav to play for Air India in a T20 tournament in Mumbai, saying that if he did well, there was a chance the company might take him on on a stipend. That meant financial security to an extent. Yadav immediately took an overnight train to Mumbai, the first time he had travelled to the state capital. He delivered in the tournament, and did end up on a stipend with Air India, one of the leading corporate supporters of the game in the country. By then Yadav's father had persuaded him to go back to his studies and get a degree in commerce. (He has still not taken the final examination, due to his busy playing schedule.)

It then began to pour opportunities. When he returned from Mumbai, Yadav found he was among the 30 probables for the Vidarbha Ranji squad. When the time came to cull the list down to the final 15, Gandhe fought for Yadav's selection. The Vidarbha coach wanted a "mature bowler," Yadav says. Gandhe had his way.

A problem arose. The wicket in Indore for Vidarbha's season opener against Madhya Pradesh was perceived to be slow, and only two fast bowlers were supposed to play. Yadav was not one of them. Gandhe persisted. "We'll play one batsman less if needed but Umesh will play," he said, and so, only months after he started to play leather-ball cricket, Yadav became a first-class cricketer.

"It was very important for me to perform in that match," Yadav says, "because someone had a lot of faith in me." Four wickets in the first innings later, "no one, coach included, could say anything about my selection". A six-for against Bengal followed, earning him a place in the Central Zone Duleep Trophy squad. "It was a huge thing for a boy to be selected for Duleep Trophy in his first year. Four Ranji matches, 20 wickets, and then Duleep Trophy."

It was to get even better. A five-for against South Zone, including the wickets of Dravid and Laxman. The India call-up arrived a little more than a year later. Not bad for someone who used to bowl from a foot behind the bowling crease when he started out.

"He was raw and wayward," Gandhe says. "But he was really quick - too quick. I thought that if he lands at least three out of six balls in line with the stumps, he will trouble batsmen. We worked on him a lot. He was a fast learner too. What helped him was his athletic build." Yadav's lower body is lean but it broadens into mammoth shoulders and strong upper arms.


The ground on which Umesh Yadav played in Valli, Nagpur
The ground in Valli where Yadav played as a boy Abhishek Purohit / © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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Yadav asks me to join him for a late breakfast of chapatis, potatoes and parval (a variety of gourd) - and dal that contains almost as much ghee as it does dal itself. Yadav gulps the concoction down as if he were emptying a glass of water. I try a spoonful; my head almost spins. "Hamara toh isi se chalta hai [We thrive on this]," Yadav says. Of course, when he is training, he has to stick to a regulated diet.

Yadav's strength had to be harnessed properly. A long line of coaches and mentors has taught him the basics of swing and seam, of wrist position and release. He credits Subroto Banerjee and Eric Simons the most. TA Sekhar, Usman Ghani and Gandhe have helped too.

More than his rise to the Indian team, it was being bought in the IPL auction that completely transformed the lives of Yadav and his family. Finishing touches are being applied to a new floor that was recently added to the Khaparkheda house. The family, especially Yadav's father, didn't want to move to the urban din of Nagpur. Yadav's oldest brother has returned from Goa to oversee the expansion of the house. The other brother can now take his time to find a job. An SUV shares space with a car and a sports bike in the courtyard. A plot of land has been bought as an investment; a patch of agricultural land is managed by Yadav's father, in a return to his agrarian roots in Deoria in north-eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Some things don't change, though. Yadav's father, who has now retired from his job at the coal mine, did not think the family needed a second car. There is a big split air-conditioner in the room but Yadav senior asks for the air-cooler in an adjacent room to be filled with water so he can take his afternoon nap. Yadav still likes to spend time with his childhood acquaintances in Valli, and makes frequent trips there. He still wants to hang out at a roadside tea joint with his friends. Only, they have now started forcing him to go to a coffee shop, in line with his enhanced "level".

He does not get what the fuss is all about. "People think now that one's level has changed, one has to maintain it. I can't do all that. Even now, if I want to go for a movie, I just go. The other day, some people asked how I had come just like that, without any security. I told them this is my hometown, what harm can come to me here? In fact, the entire country is mine. What security do I need here?

"I have handled the changes very well. They can get to your head. But I know that the thing which has given me so much, it is very important for me to be loyal to it. If I don't respect it, cricket is something which can kick you anytime. My only thought is that the passion will always remain and I will always remain loyal to the game. And I will look to keep myself as down to earth and as simple as possible."

Yadav puts his groundedness down to upbringing ("My parents were very simple people. They endeavoured that their children should also be simple") and then turns philosophical. "Not having money is a problem, having money is also a problem. When you don't have it, it's [a question of] how to meet expenses, and if you have it, it's where to spend all the money. In my view, a person should only have as much money as he requires.

"Everyone is doing something to fill their stomachs. If I didn't do this, I would have done something else. Now I think sometimes that had I got into the police, I would have been patrolling a crowd, cap on head and baton in hand. Life is too short. You should enjoy it, no point complaining. This is life, there are ups and downs."

A long silence follows. Yadav gets up and prepares to leave for the VCA academy, where he will move in a few days to resume full-fledged training. When I step out, I realise how hot it actually is. I ask the driver to turn the car's air-conditioner up. No use. It spews more hot air. It is 46.6°. I wonder how man can survive in this heat. I wonder how the villager Umesh Yadav made the Indian team. The second thought will help me grit it out till the airport.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by vik56in on (June 10, 2012, 0:31 GMT)

India has quite a few men who can bowl quick now.( Ishant,Yadav,Varun(150)), (Awana,Shami Ahmed,Sudeep Tyagi,Sreesanth(140s)),(Munaf Patel,Dinda,Zaheer,Balaji,R.P Singh(135)).

Posted by grizzle on (June 9, 2012, 23:53 GMT)

AndyZaltzmannsHair: Clearly you did not watch the Perth match that Hareesh is referring to. Australia went from 214-0 to 369 all out with Yadav taking 5 wickets in the process and 3 from the top 4. Are you saying that Australia was accelarating going for the declaration on day 2 of the Test match, only a 100 runs ahead? I think not, despite the fact that our (Indian) batting was pathetic all through the series. Finally, yes Yadav is by no means a great bowler but he does have genuine pace and there is something to be said for it. As for him not making the Pakistani B team, who cares? Pakistan has an amazing bowling attack, and we would be lucky to have the attack of their B team!

Posted by sabbor on (June 9, 2012, 22:39 GMT)

very good article and only thing India need to do is, make him regular player

Posted by arup_g on (June 9, 2012, 22:18 GMT)

Yadav is the future of India's fast bowling - he needs to work very hard and stay grounded and patient. He will do well on hard bouncy wickets, but must do well on flat Indian wickets in order to be picked.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (June 9, 2012, 13:19 GMT)

@dude cricket . how many english bowlers have suffered the same difficulties that umesh suffered in his life ? .

Posted by   on (June 9, 2012, 12:57 GMT)

Nice article Abhishek..........

Posted by DingDong420 on (June 9, 2012, 12:36 GMT)

Good Story, well done Yadav

Posted by Kohli--The_Messi_of_Cricket on (June 9, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

@WickyRoy.paklover - Saw your fast bowling prodigy Rahat Ali today. Don't know what is there in him that you people have seen in his short first-class career that I couldn't see today. And yeah you said 140-150 regularly. Forget about 150, he didn't hit the 140 mark regularly. He's just another ordinary medium pacer without much swing. He bowls the odd-140 plus that surprises the batsman and that's all he can thrive on. And not to forget he got hit all around the park.

Posted by   on (June 9, 2012, 11:08 GMT)

Thanks for such a good article. Dear Mr. Purohit, one thing I would like to add is actually the village he belongs near Khaparkheda is "Walni" not "Valli". I know that village personally. Anyways, Good luck to this hard working cricketer.

Posted by   on (June 9, 2012, 8:31 GMT)

Winners never quit, quitters never wins.....

Posted by indianpunter on (June 9, 2012, 7:16 GMT)

Nice article, Abhishek. Sorry to rain on your parade, but it is "grounding" not groundedness...lol

Posted by srriaj317 on (June 9, 2012, 7:14 GMT)

@dariuscorny: Pitching the ball short can't simply be put down to being raw in int'l cricket. Everyone right from club cricket knows and says its not worth bowling short simply because of the extra time the batsman gets! Banging a few balls shot at the start of the tour is ok but Yadav consistently got hit around throughout the series and he bowled short because of trying to bowl faster. I'm not saying Yadav should bowl slower but should rather prioritise his aim rather than pace. Tait was much faster than Yadav and could swing the ball but we know what happened to him. In club cricket, we find the 50 year old trundlers who dart slow balls straight at the stumps to be the most dangerous!!

Posted by   on (June 9, 2012, 7:10 GMT)

Wonderful article by Abhishek

Posted by dariuscorny on (June 9, 2012, 5:07 GMT)

@srriaj317 here it comes.one voice to cut down his pace which is his identity.he was bowling short in Aus coz he was still raw in International circuit.it tends to happen but im sure with more matches and encouragement too bowl fast he wud get great control over the red cherry(white one also).we should make him realise that his pace can rattle best of the batsmen in the world and he is the game changer .so at any cost he should not compromise on his pace which is God gifted to serve India as it can inspire many more young lads to follow his footsteps.this wuold certainly help India.this goes for Varun Aaron also.as both of thse guys are genuine talent.if handled properly they can be one of the greatest bowling duo in history of cricket.so dont cut your pace guys

Posted by RogerC on (June 9, 2012, 2:49 GMT)

Excellent article. This writeup is not exactly about Umesh, but about rural India. For each Umesh that sees success, there are thousands who fail to make it due to lack of opportunities.

Posted by Meety on (June 9, 2012, 2:33 GMT)

@Dude.Cricket - great point us "westerners" forget how close to life & death it can be in other parts of the world. That is one of the heart warming features of this article, I also really love the family bond too. From an outsider's point of view, I still find it hard to correlate the Billions of money that the BCCI receives over the last 20yrs, still hasn't penetrated rurally in India! I suppose there are still some examples of remote indigenous settlements in Oz that don't have access to top sporting equipment, but it FEELS like it is a lot more rare in Oz than India, (I am aware of the social & economic issues of the country (IndIA) as a whole), just thought thru Sport (Cricket & the BCCI), they could of made more of an impact more swiftly! @ hhillbumper - mate, he is very raw & very quick, whether he develops into something great is another matter, but I think it is fair enuff for him to be described as a Fast Bowler, just shy (IMO) of Express!

Posted by AvidFanDownUnder on (June 9, 2012, 2:24 GMT)

Great article on a true rising star. When he toured Australia I liked the fact that he always kept trying regardless of the fact that there were not enough runs (which happened to be almost every innings) and that he wasn't getting results and I think he along with Kohli were probably the only players to leave with their reputations intact or enhanced. I just hope Umesh doesn't let the money go to his head now itself because if he works on his faults he will certainly be one of India's best fast bowlers to play. Good luck.

Posted by CSpiers on (June 9, 2012, 2:17 GMT)

nice piece, but as a bowler he's still got a long way to go before he's proper test match bowling material.

Posted by srriaj317 on (June 9, 2012, 2:09 GMT)

Umesh Yadav has a stunning build for an Indian and amazing pace. Every Aussie struggled to counter the pace in the previous series. I think it is a serious issue Langer has to look into because batsmen like Kohli had ample time to play their shots even against Pattinson and Siddle while Yadav was too quick for the likes of Forrest. However, Yadav has done zero justice to his talent IMHO. He keeps spraying it around and bowled way too short in Aus - that's why his economy rate took a beating and he wasn't a threat. If he can cut his pace down just 5ks (still 145k) to focus on hitting the stumps, he will be a matchwinner.

Posted by yorkshirematt on (June 9, 2012, 0:35 GMT)

Good to see india producing an exciting fast bowler with genuine pace. Will be interesting to see how he develops over the years to come. Good luck to the lad as India certainly need a player like him, especially away from the subcontinent.

Posted by Meety on (June 9, 2012, 0:13 GMT)

@Dravid_Gravitas - LOL! Can't believe my accent is like that!!!!! Haven't seen much of Aaron, however I do know at one stage just prior to the tour of Oz, he was rated better than Yadav. So it would be wird/good seeing a genuinely quick new ball partnership from India. I've said before there needs to be a few FC (&Test) grounds that offer assistance to the pace bowlers. The grounds don't have to be carbon copies of the WACA, but a little more grass to make things more rewarding for pacers would do India the world of good long term! See ya later mite!!!! LOL!

Posted by Hello13 on (June 9, 2012, 0:01 GMT)

AndyZaltsmansheir- In your (increasingly desperate) attempts to be funny, you completely miss the point of the article. It is nothing to do with his cricketing ability. Its to do with how somebody was able to overcome such tough difficulites to play cricket for India. What a lot of the English and AUstralians dont realise is how most of their players are privelaged and are only good because of constant coaching at their private schools. Imagaine if Anderson had never touched a cricket ball till he was 17 like Zaheer, or if hed had to live a live like Umesh's. Hed be nothing.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (June 8, 2012, 23:50 GMT)

What a truly inspirational piece! Remember, Dravid made a passing mention of his story during the Bradman Oration? He becomes a great bowler or not is not the issue here. The fact that coming from such ordinary background he made it big in just 3 years is truly inspiration. @Meety: As always appreciate your presence on Indian articles. Cheers mite (as in mate - the Austrylian why (as in way :-))!

Posted by WickyRoy.paklover on (June 8, 2012, 23:17 GMT)

@Rahane.fan,gul has great yorker which won us t20 wc,sami z stil extremly quick n looks far more threatning than this lad,i havn't mentin cheema,junaid,junaid so no use of divertng d topic,4 d same poor form,unfortunate wahab z nt givn d central contract,bt even without amir,asif,wahab,we have some immence talnt waitng in d wings,one match doesn't make u a great batsman(kohli does this nowadays),similarly 1 poor match doesn't make u bad bowlr@funny.kid,i feel sorry 4 u that ur knowldge about pak crick z so limitd,sami,talha,sadaf,anwar,rahat,all bowl 140 to 150 range regularly,tel me any single match wining performance 4rm ths lad,our bowlng legends had already prov too much in same period of time

Posted by akshat10_nz on (June 8, 2012, 23:16 GMT)

Umesh, Aaron, Ishant, Shami Ahmed - These 4 fast bowlers and 140+ and will be the future of Indian fast bowling for years to come Finally we have a pace attack to be proud of

Posted by Uzi-Khan on (June 8, 2012, 22:52 GMT)

I like Yadav....ok he's not in the same league or is as prodiguous as an Aamir or Asif but i think India desperately needs a bowler like him to surpass the medium pacers they have at the moment. Truth be told.....let Yadav be his own man....i hope he isnt ruined or inflated by the media and fame and it would be best if someone like Srinath or even Waqar taught him how to perfect his skill.... It really is a shame though that since Aamir's demise the world of cricket has been struggling to produce prominent fast bowlers.....would be nice to see these two bowlers in the same match

Posted by Dude.Cricket on (June 8, 2012, 22:43 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge: You have missed the point of the beautiful article mate. It's not claiming that Umesh is the best bowler in the world. It's all about how he overcame the difficult phases of life and whatever he has achieved till now. You Britons will not be able to appreciate it, cos the government doles out money and you lead a decent life without having to bother about basic education or a job. English might have all the best bowlers in the world, but they are all elites and not from the difficult and hardworking family background of Umesh. He may be nothing by your standards, but he is GOLD for Indians. Indians thrive in spin bowling. Swanny is supposedly the best spinner, but he will not even be able to make it to Vidharba B team. Peace.

Posted by Dude.Cricket on (June 8, 2012, 22:21 GMT)

A very inspirational account of Umesh. I agree with him, it all boils downs to your upbringing and you have got to give credit to his parents. Honesty, Integrity, Hardwork and Simplicity are the virtues that parents can give to their children by setting and example. Kudos to Umesh's dad. God sided with Umesh so he did not become a constable, he deserves everything he got now. I love watching him in action, he is cheerful, happy and hard working guy. Wish he performs well for India for a longtime and spearheads the Indian bowling attack.

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 22:13 GMT)

i read it yesterday...its a heart warming story...but i guess Indian media makes too much out of the fact that someone rose from humble background....We have seen that with Pathan brothers also that how their background was over-reported to the point of irritation...brings unnecessary attention towards the player and they can lose focus...again we saw that with Pathan brothers... most of the Pakistani cricketers come from the same background...Australian team has a spinner, Nathan Lyonn, in their playing XI who used to cut grass at MCG...Ntini was probably the poorest international cricketer...but let's not make a big deal out of it...half of India's population has humble backgrounds, so u ll have people rise from that periodically in every field!

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 20:50 GMT)

Brilliant...Jai Maharashtra!!!

Posted by hhillbumper on (June 8, 2012, 20:14 GMT)

Fast bowler? Express bowler? We talking about the same player

Posted by scorbos15 on (June 8, 2012, 20:09 GMT)

Stunner of an article, thank you Author !!

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 19:54 GMT)

this is an inspiring story, since i saw him in international cricket i said he will be a world class bowler. keep it up.

Posted by Legaleagle on (June 8, 2012, 19:23 GMT)

Awesome story!! India should be very very careful in treating this gem. One must remember that he is not a product of Indian cricket or some talent academy. Make sure that people in cricket take good care of this guy- Don't burn him out in 2-3 years.

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 19:04 GMT)

Truly inspiring! Go Umesh!!! Great article Abhishek.

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 18:55 GMT)

great article for getting inspiration but umesh need to work very hard in order to keep the position in international arena.............mostly indian bowlers are very fast when comes to debut then i don't know what happened to them ;) for example Ishant Sharma he was quick then suddenly lost his pace....sames goes with the sreesanth,RP singh etc.In comparison with them, umar gul perform well and now has the above 350 wickets in international cricket and other don't. Means to say only hardworker and dedicated person will survive.

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (June 8, 2012, 18:24 GMT)

What an inspiring story! And a true one!! Splendid piece of writing from Abhishek Purohit.

Posted by dariuscorny on (June 8, 2012, 17:43 GMT)

@AndyZaltzmannsHair he may be ordinary,but this ordinary guy is very much Indian not imported.unlike yours players pool which is filled with ultra ordinary players that makes your selectors to advertise for vacancies in your team globally so that selectors can recruit players from other countries

Posted by dariuscorny on (June 8, 2012, 17:32 GMT)

i didnt mean disrespect to any Pak bowler but please first try to give respect to bowlers who deserve respect from you guys..........

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 17:08 GMT)

thats true syed hassan ahmed ...........well said .......india does lack genuine fast bowlers over few decades .......infact never had one ........yadav and varun aaron shld be used very cleverly and nurture them all the way ......with the likes of wasim akram , waqar younis , ........these young guns shld be in the international frame for atleat 10 years from now ..........

Posted by AndyZaltzmannsHair on (June 8, 2012, 17:07 GMT)

@Hareesh: I watched that series. Yadav got his wickets because none of the other bowlers could get any. Batsmen piled on runs as if dining in a buffet and proceeded to get tired and tended to throw their wickets away when accelerating the run rate. Whenever Yadav was called on to take top order wickets with his team down, he failed. Getting wickets when the opposition is 300 runs ahead with only one innings down is game over.

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 16:07 GMT)

Yadav and Aaron have to be used sparingly in international cricket,otherwise they will turn into another munaf patel.!!!

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (June 8, 2012, 15:52 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge: maybe you are right but don't forget Finn bowls in conditions favorable to fast/swing bowlers where as Yadav bowls in what once referred to as "Dust Bowls". This is the reason why I have immense respect for fast bowlers from Pakistan as they keep coming up with one after the other in conditions suited for batsmen.

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (June 8, 2012, 15:49 GMT)

@RyanHrarrisGreatCricketer: With all due respect I will not put him ahead of Srinath as yet. I definitely hope he turns out to be one. Unfortunately for Srinath he was over used and was then by far the best Meadium fast bowler India ever produced after the gr8 Kapil Dev.

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (June 8, 2012, 15:46 GMT)

What a story? Given how things work in our country It is heartening to see there is hope for someone who is talented. Good Luck Yadav and I hope u succeed unlike Ishant. Dedication and hard work will take you to heights of glory. I hope he gets a tip or tip from the great WAZ.

Posted by SachinIsTheGreatest on (June 8, 2012, 15:22 GMT)

@AndyZaltzmannsHair, giggle!! Good point though just can't for the world of me imagine how, in Australia, Pakistan drew the test series in 2003-04 or won at Perth in 2007-08...while India's record v Aus is 1 win in 11 tests since 1999?

Posted by Big_CricInfo_fan on (June 8, 2012, 15:16 GMT)

@AndyZaltzmannsHair: Would have loved to see a Pakistan B player pick a 5-for on his maiden tour against Australia. Having said that, an asset for Yadav would be, variations at such pace - à la Steyn.

Posted by lovepork on (June 8, 2012, 14:53 GMT)

Amazing! keep bowling fast and quick, unlike your predesessors, who only wanted to bowl good lines. You are young, energetic, just bowl as quick as you can, the rest will come automatically! By bowling quick you can scare any batsman!

Posted by worldorder on (June 8, 2012, 14:44 GMT)

What a beautiful article. We could have easily substituted Yadav's name with Amir's and it would still have made sense. Alas...

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 14:29 GMT)

Truly inspirational.Hope he continues to remain grounded and bowl better.Zaheer won't last long enough.So good to have this guy.In the meantime let a certain ex-captain keep saying his long jumper is the fastest India bowler!

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 14:09 GMT)

A genuine quickie, who if handled correctly can become India's premier fast-bowling asset. Hope he focuses more on Test Cricket than IPL. Best wishes from Pakistan.

Posted by spinkingKK on (June 8, 2012, 14:08 GMT)

Can you please translate this article to Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Gujrathi, Punjabi, Bengali and what not? Let the youngsters of those languages get inspired by the story of this young hero. I am sure there are many hero's out there who couldn't get the luck at the right time like Yadav got. There were prople who didn't have a Mr.Gandhe in their life or who didn't have a Senior Yadav in their life. Perhaps there are many in need of just an inspiration to be told that they can also be a world class material. Youth is a funny time in our life. We know we are good. However, we don't know how good are we, unless there is someone to give a good guidance like Gandhe did for Yadav. Great article and very heartening to learn about this energetic young man.

Posted by Lord_Dravid on (June 8, 2012, 14:01 GMT)

ive got great instincts and ive always maintained that umesh yadav looks a wicked prospect.. to be able to transform soo quckly as a test bowler in 2/3 years is evident that he has a gifted talent..lets hope he can keep up with the sheer pace and aggression backed by zaheer and our spinners ashwin/ojha!..God is watching! :)

Posted by Emancipator007 on (June 8, 2012, 13:40 GMT)

Yadav's story of being spotted out of nowhere and 'fast' tracked into Indian team is exactly how Akram, M.Zahid ,other pace bowlers are plucked in Pak.This is also a story about how some well-meaning elder/veteran/mentor(Gandhe here) should always promote latent talent at any cost in any field/domain irrespective of gains for them.If one editor Campbell did not promote Asimov(in the same field) without worrying about his own fame/adulation, science fiction would have been poorer. Many other egs. abound.Also showcases how IPL gets "backwaters" players into limelight. I would not have given a damn about Yadav's bowling returns in Ranji Plate League for Vidarbha but IMMEDIATELY noticed his raw pace while he turned out for Daredevils first in 2010. So one would-have- been pandu (cop) becomes an international cricketer.Another ticket-collector at Kharagpur railway station became India's most trophy-winning and biggest brand captain.Modern India's hinterland stories continue to fascinate.

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 13:32 GMT)

Shining star..A true fast bowler ..Son of a coal miner..from a small village near Nagpur..First person from Vidarbha to represent India..Waiting for the day when Umesh Yadav shares the new ball with Varun Aaron , fast bowler from Jharkhand..

Posted by Haleos on (June 8, 2012, 13:29 GMT)

Good story. The Shiv Sena gooons wanted to kick out all non-maharashtrian people. we would have lost a jewel like Yadav. Hope he is taken good care of by BCCI. Kudos to BCCI for giving him oppurtunity as soon as they did. Gandhe should be appreciated as well.

Posted by ProdigyA on (June 8, 2012, 13:26 GMT)

As many have said an excellent article. Its great to be humble but i only hope that Umesh is not too satisfied with what he has achieved so far. He should understand this is just the beginning, he could end up as the Waqar of India who can be remebered for decades to come. Good luck and aim high my friend.

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 13:16 GMT)

A very interesting read, poverty indeed in itself is a strong motivator. Yadav is undoubtedly a never-seen-before kind for an Indian bowler. His down to earth personality will only help him in the long run, I hope he will stay away from over-coaching and methodologists, and keep on building on his natural talent. Best wishes from Pakistan!

Posted by AndyZaltzmannsHair on (June 8, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

I suppose for Indians who are so starved of good bowling, this ordinary chap looks world class to them. Wouldn't make a Pakistan B team. And that's being generous.

Posted by Texmex on (June 8, 2012, 12:52 GMT)

One of the best articles I read in cricinfo. Thanks!

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 12:33 GMT)

It was really refreshing to read this article and I do believe that this should give cricket academies in sub-continent a good reason to look out for local talents who just need tht one opportunity to prove their skills and talent.

Posted by sohaibahmad on (June 8, 2012, 12:32 GMT)

another fast bowler from UP, hope this one succeeds

Posted by pr3m on (June 8, 2012, 12:30 GMT)

Can Cricinfo stop classifying his pace as rfm now?

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 12:21 GMT)

Does anyone remember a Baroda Lad by the name of Irfan Pathan..similar background..great start..compared to the great wasim akram at one time.and an average medium pace IPL bowler now...

Hope Umesh doesnt meet the same fate.

Posted by Kohli--The_Messi_of_Cricket on (June 8, 2012, 12:21 GMT)

@WickyRoy.paklover - Your fast bowling prodigies like Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan have been bowling so economically? Haven't they? LOL. Riaz was hit for 50 runs in just 4 overs in an ODI vs India!! How good a bowler he is, isn't he? And that Cheema guy was also taken to the cleanest. Even the great GUL wasn't spared that day. Picking wickets of mediocre batsmen in helpful conditions doesn't make your domestic fast bowlers world-class overnight.

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

finally our city has produced an express bowler hope he makes it big in team india!!!!!!!!

Posted by Empty-Sequence on (June 8, 2012, 12:10 GMT)

Indeed a top-notch article. It's always a pleasure to read a Rags to Riches story.

Posted by Versatile.Sanjay on (June 8, 2012, 12:02 GMT)

Great !! But still a long way to go Umesh My Friend !! I WISH You Luck & Hope You Achieve all the Goals of Your Life...

NICE ARTICLE TOO DEAR ABHISHEK - Simple yet Appealing & Inspirational... Keep it up

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 11:39 GMT)

an excellent and inspirational article....hope umesh keeps going good and does india proud....best of luck!!!

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 11:32 GMT)

A truly inspirational story. No wonder this guy knows hot to survive when going get tough. After J Srinath, he along with V Aaron are the only fast bowler India has produced. I with to c them both bowling with Zaheer khan. A world class swing bowler with two fast pace bowlers. India can dominate any team with this bowling line up with Arshwin and Ojha as the spinners in the team. We already have the batting line up to claim back the no 1 spot. WIth this bowling line up, we can stay no1 for a long time. Lets hope for the best. Best of luck to this gutsy bowler.

Posted by Kapil_Choudhary on (June 8, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

The best part about this article is that despite the archaic and possibly corrupt Indian "system", if someone has true talent and determination, then he gets his due...and quickly. The bad part though is how infatuated India gets when they see someone bowling genuinely fast. Scouts don't need a second look, captains fight with coaches to get the guy in the team and domestic batsmen completely fall apart against raw pace. Guess we'll just have to look at the glass half full. And Yadav may or may not be India's next big thing, but he surely has given his family a life they never dreamed of but surely deserved. Hopefully, he will now not fall apart and/or succumb to injuries like the Ishants and Sreesanths of India and will also give Indians a fast bowler to truly feel proud of...

Posted by funnykid on (June 8, 2012, 11:10 GMT)

@wickyRoy.paklover; Umesh has the natrual talent to bowl genuine quick. This is God gifted talent and one must appreciate it. There are hundreds of bowlers all over the world but only a few can generate pace over 145 kp/h. I know for sure, if he were in Pakistan, he would be a great bowler in 2 years time. I dont know what would happen to him in India because there is a history of Indian fast bowlers fading away after early promise. Pakistan has produced great fast bowlers over the years but right now the cupboard seems to be empty. Shoaib Akhtar was the last of his generation. For your information, I am no Indian, I am Pakistani and Pakistan fan but as sports lover we must appreciate the talent regardless of the country he belongs to.

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 10:58 GMT)

After very long time India got a real fast bowler who can take ten top wickets in a test match IF Umesh properly managed. If he allowed to play each and every IPL match, then who knows how long he will be in the vicinity?. Jamal/SL.

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 10:46 GMT)

very inspiring story. I hope he can be role model to many others and not just for cricket....

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 10:26 GMT)

Gem of a story. Its true and proves that diamonds are found in coal mines...However, I wish better financial security in the life of upcoming cricketers and people in general.

Posted by Bruisers on (June 8, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

Excellent article Abhishek! Looking forward to more such articles..

Posted by Ajay02 on (June 8, 2012, 10:02 GMT)

Thanks you Abhishek: what a stunning article.Luck do play a part but at the end of the day its upbringing and hard work which pays. I wish Umesh a long and successful career and hope he inspire others and passed his degree.

Posted by bighit14 on (June 8, 2012, 10:02 GMT)

Loved each and every line of the article. Success always follows those who believe in themselves and perform against all the obstacles.

Posted by AniketMalshe on (June 8, 2012, 9:38 GMT)

Keep your feet firmly on the ground! A very important mantra such sportsman should learn and practice as fast as possible. It's very easy to get spoiled in this environment and you can already see it through likes of Uthappa and Ravidra Jadeja. If nothing else, Sachin/Ganguly/Dravid/VVS and Sehwag have shown these kids how important it is to remain down to earth and not let the stardom go in the head. My best wishes are with him. After many years we have seen an exciting talent and I really hope that he gets involved in some success stories for this pace starved nation.

Posted by WickyRoy.paklover on (June 8, 2012, 9:34 GMT)

@funny kid,nice dreaming man!,if a bowlr can't perform in aus,eng,what can u expect 4rm him?his pace z gd,bt questin z,4 how long would he b able to sustain it?2ndly pace z nt d only thing to survive at intrnatnl level,by watchng him bowlng,i dn't see any thing threatening 4rm hm with which he can conquer d greatest batsmen of his era,he has neithr inswng,nor outswng,nt got a yorker,doesn't have a gd yorker eithr,so what z he upto? Getng one or 2 wickts in ipl dn't make u great bowlr,4 d time being,our veteran sami z much more threatning them him ,also keep it in mind talha,anwar ali,rahat ali,saddaf hussain would b cming in near futur u can check their profils at cric.info

Posted by eZoha on (June 8, 2012, 9:31 GMT)

There must be something wrong with cricket in India that so many fast bowlers start brilliantly and then fizzle out. We hope Yadav will be an exception. Keep it up, kid. Keep bowling fast!

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (June 8, 2012, 9:23 GMT)

A very good article indeed , umesh , varun aaron and a fit zaheer can form a formidable attack , so much for India not having genuine fast bowlers , hope he doesn't end up like munaf patel who also started out as a real quickie , good luck brother ,keep up the good work and make us proud

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 9:17 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge Yadav OUTBOWLED Finn only time they faced each other. INDIA WAS DEPLETED THEN. when did Finn become accurate in tests without playing? HE SPRAYED THE BALL FAMOUSLY IN HIS LAST TEST VS SL AT LORDS.BOTH WERE SIMILAR IN AUS, FINN HAS FILLED HIS WKT. COLUMN IN TESTS BY PLAYING BANGLADESH, YADAV YET TO PLAY ANY MINNOW OR LOWER RANKED TEAM BAR WI.

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 9:12 GMT)

and ganguly claims dinda is india's fastest bowler. umesh can just jog in to bowl 147ks while dinda can take a trampoline and jump as high as zaheer still philander will be faster than ganguly's very own india's fastest and (best) bowler. its a blessing we dont have leg cutter prasad and ganguly nowhere near around awana, yadav, aaron.

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

Truly Inspirational !!!!

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 8:37 GMT)

Take a Bow Umesh!! Hats Off to you..Great article Abhishek..Why not get an article on Varun Aaron? I would really love to see both these pacers bowling in tandem and scaring the shit out of batsmen across the world.

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 8:33 GMT)

Brilliant stuff Abhishek. This story was long overdue. Yadav became popular in Vidarbha the day he debuted for the Australian Series. His story is quite inspirational.

Posted by vicky7 on (June 8, 2012, 8:22 GMT)

Superb article..... umesh a big inspiration for small town guys who want to be cricketers.....

Posted by Windies2Dheart on (June 8, 2012, 8:20 GMT)

Since I've seen him in the Last Ind-WI series, then in Aus, I've said on many forums that he's the only genuine quick bowler that the India squad has. Great article... my admiration has now gone beyond cricket. Great to know that he still wants to be close to the people aln places that have built his character.

Posted by LoftedShotXI on (June 8, 2012, 8:01 GMT)

inspirational!!!! respect for Umesh Yadav

Posted by rairatank on (June 8, 2012, 7:55 GMT)

Good article, but there is so many Umesh in this country but aren't that lucky under this system. One name is Kamran Khan......and many more. Keep it up Umesh....

Posted by vpk23 on (June 8, 2012, 7:50 GMT)

CAN WE GET IN AN ARTICLE ON VARUN AARON! HOPE HE CAN PARTNER UMESH AND TERRORISE THE REST OF THE WORLD FOR A SHORT TIME AT LEAST. THESE TWO WILL GEL WELL IN TANDEM

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 7:35 GMT)

A nice story about a quick Indian fast bowler came from below poverty level......all the best Umesh for your future....

Posted by Milind_Jadhav on (June 8, 2012, 7:30 GMT)

Brilliant stuff! It is rare that people write without condescension and even rarer to find stars firmly rooted. Despite a very busy Friday afternoon I could not stop once I started. 150+ in a country starved of genuine quickies is a huge blessing. Best wishes to the young man for a long and successful career ahead. Thank you Abhishek.

Posted by VVS_a_class_act on (June 8, 2012, 7:26 GMT)

Truely inspirational................ All the best Umesh.

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 7:04 GMT)

Can we also have a story done on Varun Aaron? Great piece Abhishek Purohit & CricinfoIndia.

Posted by prasanth.kongati on (June 8, 2012, 7:03 GMT)

Felt really good reading. One of the simplest and finest articles, Keep it up Umesh and Abhishek. Yes you must keep your life and profile very simple to achieve bigger things in life and never bring them to your head.

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 7:01 GMT)

A great article, nice reading

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 6:56 GMT)

i m the biggest fan of umesh yadav,and i m impressed with his story..........its motivating.........................,

Posted by Naresh28 on (June 8, 2012, 6:50 GMT)

GOOD article on the actual background of Umesh. My only wish is that India find someone to partner him from the other end. That is is our biggest problem. What about working/training up ATUL SHARMA?

Posted by Piyushd21 on (June 8, 2012, 6:50 GMT)

Very well written article Mr. Abhishek...Heartly thankful to you to bring out stories like Umesh...If a guy from such a small village can make it for India's playing 11 then why not others??He is the first cricketer from Vidarbha who is playing in all formats for India.. He is a role model for many young cricketers across India..Especially from rural areas.. Thanks Abhishek once again...

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 6:33 GMT)

Very nice article. if he can remain down to the earth, he is going to be one of the best Indian fast bowler.lets hope our IPL will not spoil our hope.

Posted by rare2823 on (June 8, 2012, 6:27 GMT)

HUMBLE.... Yadav will go a looooong way if he carries this attitude right thro.. ALL THE BEST FOR exciting INDIA stint.. INDIAN TEAM needs you most...

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 6:19 GMT)

@ Asfahan Ali on (June 08 2012, 04:32 AM GMT) : very well said bro, totally agree with u !!!

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (June 8, 2012, 6:16 GMT)

He's not as quick as Englishman Steven Finn, and doesn't have Finn's accuracy. The fact that Finn can't get into the England side at the moment speaks volumes about the other English bowlers. Yadev's a promising young talent, but he's got a long way to go.

Posted by SouthPaw on (June 8, 2012, 6:12 GMT)

Very nice article, reminds me of one similar story many years back (35 years?) - that of one Kapil Dev Nikhanj, who also started in a similar fashion. Closer home, how about Viru Sehwag - again a "rags to riches" story based on amazing talent and hard work. I hope he combines his raw talent with work ethics of people like Dravid and Tendulkar and not go the lazy way like Zak and Bhajjji.

Posted by funnykid on (June 8, 2012, 6:11 GMT)

For this first time in six decades, India has edge over Pakistan in the fast bowling department. At last India has produced a genuine quick bowler, congratulations to the whole India.

Posted by KishorKumar25 on (June 8, 2012, 6:05 GMT)

Life is so beautiful, all the best Yadav, ur story made my day.

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 6:03 GMT)

How many Umesh Yadavs are still out there working in coal mines, fields, in the police...i bet in thousands...common guys go for IPL trials...

Posted by IndiaRulesEverybody on (June 8, 2012, 5:52 GMT)

Love this article. It just shows the talent that lies in the small towns and villages of India. Even though I am myself from a big city, I just love to see these small town boys with raw talent come up in life and leave everyone behind. This is what fire in the belly to do something does to a person. Hope you go way ahead in life my friend.

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 5:34 GMT)

Very nice article!!! LOVED IT!!

Posted by smalishah84 on (June 8, 2012, 5:27 GMT)

wow man.......respect from Pakistan

Posted by Joji_ on (June 8, 2012, 5:14 GMT)

I am sorry, the story is fascinatingly written. But Umesh Yadav, at best is a emerging talent. I saw him bowl in the test matches and there is nothing surprising about him.

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 5:11 GMT)

This guy should play county cricket and play it for 3-4 seasons at least ,there is where he will learn a lot ,as batsmen there dont have much problem playing fast bowlers ,in domestic cricket most of the batsmen including players in indian team have a problem against short ball.

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 5:09 GMT)

After reading this kind of a story I feel that we should have a good and extensive scouting system . There is a wealth of talent available in this country which needs to be harnessed properly that would ensure a bright future for the Indian cricket team .

Great article Abhishek

Posted by RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on (June 8, 2012, 5:02 GMT)

I am not over reacting: Alongwith Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan , Umesh yadav is one of ind's greatest seamers. Much better than Srinath and Ishant Sharma.

Posted by India_calling on (June 8, 2012, 4:49 GMT)

Good article.....nice to read about the road to rumble......Yadav is a good player and will definitely make a good name in cricket along with Varun Aaron too.....all praise with them as India's future is in their hands now......best luck champs...

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (June 8, 2012, 4:49 GMT)

BRILLIANT ARTICLE . STORY OF A BOY FROM A VILLAGE WHO IS NOW LOOKING AS A GOOD PROSPECT OF FAST BOWLING . THAT SAID I THINK UMESH HAS TO PROVE HIMSELF IN THE TOURS AGAINST ENG & AUS LATER & PLEASE DON'T BURNOUT QUICKLY .

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 4:35 GMT)

amazing story of an amazing quickie.. wish him to be the best ever Indian fast bowler..

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 4:32 GMT)

one word for yadav coming from a pakistani,, ''respect''

Posted by   on (June 8, 2012, 4:30 GMT)

Gud one...................................................................................

Posted by touqeer777 on (June 8, 2012, 4:19 GMT)

Yadav's story has lot of lessons for all of us,"Not having money is a problem, having money is also a problem.When you don't have it, it's [a question of] how to meet expenses, and if you have it, it's where to spend all the money". Yadav is pure talent.I really enjoyed when yadav was bowling at 140 plus to Clark,Ponting and all of them had big problem with Yadav speed.But problem with indian fast bowlers is their speed got down very fast I do not know why.Being grown up watching wasim,waqar,Donald,Akhtar,Bret Less,Bond, its really hard to see genuine fast bowler these days.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (June 8, 2012, 4:17 GMT)

Umesh Yadav is a breath of fresh air indeed in this age of compulsive verbal abuse. A charecteristic that is believed to be integral to fast bowling. Even slightly built medium paced trundlers think it is necessary to give the 'lip' to all concerned.Umesh must be forgiven if people think that he is not a fast bowler the way he smiles after bowling a ball at 152 kmph. This was at the MCG in the last series.The coal mining background is familiar. Harold Larwood was a coal miner himself. It was Umesh's father that was a coal miner.I think he can really terrorise batsmen with his bowling,whether pitching up or bowling short. In the last IPL in two successive matches, I remember him having got Maccallum and Kallis out hooking to the short ball. Both went for the hook before realising that the ball was too quick. Both got out to steeplers. They are two of the best players of the hook shot in the world.Umesh will be absolutely lethal when he gets the outswinger under control.A real spearhead.

Posted by Meety on (June 8, 2012, 3:35 GMT)

What a top article! I wish Yadav the best, he seems like a first rate human being! Physically he does seem a lot stronger (in a very lean sort of way) than past Indian pacers. I didn't rate him before the Test series v Oz, but I certainly rated him a lot higher after the series. He & Kholi were the only good things to come out of the Oz series. A word of caution, I was very optimistic about Ishant Sharma after the previous tour of Oz, remembering vividly he reached 150kph+ in a spell during an ODI game bowling at Ponting. I thought he was going to be an Indian version of a McGrath/Gillespie clone (not bad DNA!). So I don't know what support Sharma got (or didn't get), but Yadav is the MOST important cricketing asset India have at the moment (said that about Sharma too!). If Yadav can keep his pace & aggression, with Kohli & Pujarra in the batting line up, India's post Sachin/Dravid/VVS/Sehwag era should NOT be as disastrous as first thought! Just need Aaron to come on as well!

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