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Ironman Umesh earns Aussie legend's praise

India workhorse Umesh Yadav has proven a constant threat in Virat Kohli's team but Glenn McGrath has warns against over-taxing the quick

Pace legend Glenn McGrath has praised Umesh Yadav for his durability during India's relentless season of Test cricket, but warns even the most reliable fast bowlers need time away from the game.

Umesh, 29, played 12 of India's 13 Tests between September and March last season, a constant in Virat Kohli's bowling attack alongside spinners Ravi Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja while quicks Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were rotated in and out of the side.

The right-armer picked up 30 wickets in that time and only became more potent as the summer wore on, claiming match hauls of six and five wickets in India's 2-1 series win over Australia.



More than seven years after he made his international debut, McGrath says Umesh has clearly found the key to recovering adequately between matches.

"Umesh Yadav is bowling really well at the moment," McGrath said.

"He is up match after match, he is little bit older then what he was a couple of years ago. He is also a lot more experienced and he knows, he should know, how to prepare himself (and) how to recover.

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"I always say being fit is not so much (about) how long you can bowl, it is about how quickly you recover and as we get older we get to know ourselves better.

"And I think that has helped Umesh and he is bowling well, with confidence."

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While India have long boasted a production line of quality spinners and batsmen, conditions at home have stymied their ability to unearth and develop genuinely fast bowlers (Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan forged impressive careers as pace bowlers but both relied more on movement than genuine pace and aggression).

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So the emergence of Umesh (then 24) on India's otherwise disastrous tour of Australia in 2011-12 was met with a wave of excitement and expectation in India. Legendary West Indies fast bowler Andy Roberts, several years later, even labelled Umesh "the first genuine fast bowler" India has ever produced.

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But, like most young fast bowlers, Umesh's body couldn't handle the rigours of his craft early in his career; a shin injury curtailed his participation on that Australian tour while he was ruled out for most of 2012 and 2013 with a lower back problem.

But having carried the unwanted tag of 'injury-prone' early in his career, Umesh has now emerged as a reliable source of wickets in all forms of the game.

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However, McGrath warns that even the fittest fast bowlers need a break from the game at times.

"A fast bowler needs an off season," he said.

"If you keep bowling for a whole year without an off season, sooner or later injuries are going to creep in, you got to have a break to put that strength and fitness back in.

"The Indian bowlers are going well and (Umesh) knows how to recover and when you know that you got less chances of injuries."

McGrath was speaking from India, where he is in his third year as head coach at the MRF Pace Foundation.