India vs Australia: I was not relaxing in the off season, says pacer Umesh Yadav

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Veteran India speedster Umesh Yadav is happy to be selected for India again and feels he is fit for someone of his age.

The pacer was selected for the three-match series against Australia after Mohammed Shami tested positive for Covid-19. He has not got many opportunities in the white-ball format, having played just seven T20Is.

But Umesh had a decent outing in the IPL 2022, claiming 16 wickets in 12 games for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and had an economy 0f 7.06, something he was criticised for while he played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).

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Umesh played his last T20I in February 2019 and was obviously elated to make a comeback to the national squad.

“I like to think that I am pretty fit for someone my age and I am bowling well too. It feels good to be selected for the country, just looking forward to contributing whenever I get the chance,” Umesh said in an interview with journalist Vimal Kumar.

Umesh played for English County Middlesex recently and returned only due to injury while playing in the Royal London ODI series. But he picked up 16 wickets in seven List A games.

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He believes that he was lucky to play in England, at a time when there were not many opportunities in India.

“You could say that I was lucky because not many matches were happening in India because of the rain, so got lucky with the Middlesex offer. I knew that only practicing and not playing any matches won’t amount to anything. When you play, your body remains in that environment, your muscles stay loose and you are more agile. I was enjoying my county stint, the weather in England is good, Umesh added.

Umesh, as already stated, was criticised for his bowling with RCB and did not play after the 2020 season. However, he did his best in the meanwhile and practiced hard for his comeback.

“I did not play any white-ball cricket after playing for RCB in IPL 2020. I was doing well, practicing well, but I did not get the chance. No one was aware of how I was doing in the nets. Everyone got to see how well I was doing when I got a chance with KKR in IPL 2022. People got to understand that I was not just relaxing in the off-season,” Umesh said.

The T20I series between India and Australia starts on 20 September. It will be interesting to see if he gets a game against the Aussies, considering he is not a part of the T20 World Cup squad – not even as a standby.

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