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Unlike his action, Yadav’s career has not gone smoothly, even as he completes a decade in international career on Thursday. Somehow, Yadav stayed in the shadow of other bowlers through his career. If this was the debut of Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma, it is Jaspreet Bumrah and Mohammed Shami. However, despite the competition, the 32-year-old managed to keep himself relevant.
To play 10 years of international cricket is no achievement for a Vidarbha bowler, back when he hit the bag.
There are many firsts associated with the man, who once wanted to be in the police. Yadav is Vidarbha’s first Test cricketer. He is the only Vidarbha cricketer to have played a World Cup and to his credit is the ICC and IPL Championship (Champions Trophy 2013).
When he broke up in Vidarbha, players do not think of playing for the country, let alone a long and successful career. To his credit, Yadav did what he could on the big stage. In his first first-class season, some experienced home batsmen found him too hot to handle. Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman’s wickets in the Duleep Trophy match in 2009 brought him into the limelight. Since then he has not looked back.
The doors of the IPL opened to him and despite a stress-fracture injury in 2009, Yadav not only regained his momentum, but also added a few more yards. Soon, Indians can see someone bowling at a speed of 145 kilometers per hour. He received a national call-up to the T20 World Cup in the West Indies in 2010. However, visa issues and India’s early exit denied him the opportunity to donate to national colors.
It did not take long for him to break into the national side. A month later, he was part of India’s One-Day for the tri-series in Zimbabwe. This was a reality for Yadav. He realized the importance of the swing. He worked on this with his mentor Subroto Banerjee and when he was called up for the home series against the West Indies in 2011, Yadav was more than just working in progress. He could swing the ball, reverse swing and bowl lethal bouncers.
Along with Virat Kohli, Yadav was a tour discovery in India’s pathetic Test series in 2012. His career was going well, when Pacer injured himself again during the Ahmedabad Test against England. The emergence of Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar meant that Yadav would have to wait for his chance. He played his part in India’s Champions Trophy win in 2013. However, he again found himself out of the side.
The comeback is always tough and by this time, Yadav knew he needed to raise the bar. With some great performances against Sri Lanka and West Indies at home, Yadav joined the team for the 2015 World Cup. He became the highest wicket taker for India. The emergence of Bumrah the next year saw him no more than the one-day team.
Although he was not involved in India’s plans for the shorter format and the overseas Test, Yadav is India’s bowler under Indian conditions. He is the only Indian fast bowler with Kapil Dev and Javagal Srinath taking 10 wickets on Indian soil. He did it against the West Indies in 2018 in Hyderabad.
Apart from an injury setback in 2012, Yadav hardly had any fitness issues, a rare one given the amount of cricket these days. The season 2016-17 was a historic season for Yadav. Until then, he could not make his place in the playing XI. He never played consistently for India, especially in the longer format. The issue remains about his consistency after bowling with sheer speed and accuracy against the New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia sides in 2016-17.
Yadav does not have Bumrah’s X factor. He lacks the ability to walk from sides like Shami. When it comes to control, India prefers Ishant over Yadav, especially abroad. However, the Vidarbha Express is still a force under domestic conditions. He would have liked more wickets, more foreign Tests, more ODIs and T20 matches. However, there is still much left in it.
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