Bowling with tennis ball - Tennis Review

Bowling with tennis ball

Miss that box (which is about
India's fastest pacer Umesh Yadav speaks to TOI about sharing the dressing room with Sachin Tendulkar in his last Test and chasing his cricketing dreams...

Though you didn't get to bowl in the Test series vs West Indies, you were the part of the playing squad. How was it to share the dressing room with Sachin Tendulkar in his last Test match?

It felt wow! I was so proud of the moment! When he made his debut in Test cricket, I was only two years old and now the man is hanging his boots and here I am experiencing the moment alongside him! Then, all of a sudden a feeling of sadness crept in; Sachin Tendulkar wouldn't play international cricket any more. However special this experience might be, it put curtains on a very special era in cricket: The Sachin Tendulkar era. So, it was a potpourri of emotions I went through. I feel I didn't play much with him; one yearns for more.

Brian Lara says even if Sachin didn't score a bomb in the last two years of his Test career, Team India required him to be around for fresh (batting) talents like Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara. As a bowler, how have you benefited from Sachin's advices on and off the field?

Here, I would say that he didn't even score less; rather, he's scored in extremely difficult situations. So far as Paaji's helping nature is concerned, I feel batsmen and bowlers have got equally benefited from him. He's always been extremely helpful. Whenever a newcomer bowled, he would make it a point to stand at mid-off or mid-on region to guide him. The way Paaji can read a batsman, a greenhorn bowler, who's grappling with anxiety and confusion, can't. So, Paaji's always made sure to guide a new bowler about the intricacies of the game. He's always motivated me to do new things. Last time, he told me to go slow and release the bowl effortlessly by not putting much shoulder to it. He told me how to bowl in swing with a facade of out swing. He's brimming with such tricks and is prompt to share the same with us.

Sachin is famous for his profound sense of humour; how's been your experience with him?

I, being quite a junior, never got into such a comfort zone with him, but I've witnessed his banter with seniors like Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman. It's fun to have him around in the dressing room. I remember once we were playing a match and (Cheteshwar) Pujara came back to the dressing room after getting out. When Paaji saw Pujara, he made his shock quite apparent. 'Pujara, tu aa gaya!' were his words. Actually, he was complementing the longevity of Pujara's innings as he's known to play long innings.

You are arguably the fastest bowler of India and it's not easy to maintain that kind of pace with frequent injuries that make one quite irregular. Have you ever thought about changing your game?

Yes, it's indeed not easy to be a fast bowler. You're prone to injuries. At times, your body tells you that it cannot take that kind of constant load; and then you gotta stay out of the team but then you again refresh yourself and try and make a comeback. It always keeps you on your toes. That said, my pace is my USP that has made me reach here and I wouldn't barter it with anything. My pace is my identity. My motto has been to finish my game at the same pace, at which I had started. My conscience will never let me compromise my pace at any cost.

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