India pacer Umesh Yadav is 'battle ready' for the tour of England after outstanding IPL campaign

Sudhir Gupta 11/06/2018
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Umesh Yadav is feeling extremely good about his bowling currently.

With a long and gruelling tour of England coming up, India’s Umesh Yadav is feeling extremely good about his bowling after a spirited showing in this year’s IPL.

The pacer bowled some absolutely ripping spells in the premier T20 competition and picked up 20 wickets in 14 matches for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

While crediting RCB bowling coach Ashish Nehra for his successful IPL, Umesh has also thanked skipper Virat Kohli for giving him the freedom to go for the kill.

“Any performer is happy when he successfully executes his plans. I am really happy with my performance in the IPL. It was unfortunate that we could not make it to the play-offs but it was one of my best IPL seasons,” he said in an interview with the Press Trust of India.

“Virat had one clear instruction for me. Go for the kill. He told me ‘get me the wickets and do not bother about getting hit’. I did as my skipper told me,”

With the IPL now over, all of the attention will switch to the tour of England where India are slated to play five Tests against the hosts.

With Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami all jostling for positions in India’s pace battery for the series along with Yadav, Kohli is bound to have some selection headaches.

Yadav is one of the many pace options at the disposal of Kohli.

Yadav is one of the many pace options at the disposal of Kohli.

However, the 30-year-old right-arm quick is only focusing on doing his job if called upon by the Indian skipper.

“We are five pacers – Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar), Bumrah, Shami, Ishant and myself. So it’s a happy headache for the team management – the coach and the captain to pick the best amongst us. I am personally in a very good head space after IPL. My job is to be ready and captain and the head coach have their job,” Yadav said.

“We are a close-knit group and even when Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar) or Jassi (Bumrah) do well, I am proud of their achievements. My job is to be battle ready for the season ahead and I am doing just that,” he added.

India’s tour of England will start on July 3 with the first of the three T20Is. That will be followed by a three-match ODI series before the attention shifts to the Tests which conclude on September 11.

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England v Australia ODI series talking points as Justin Langer begins new era

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Langer and Paine are set to begin a new chapter for the Aussies.

England‘s limited-overs schedule this summer will truly kick into gear with a one-day international series against Australia.

Eoin Morgan‘s side will play five matches in the space of 15 days against the tourists, who are back in action for the first time since the calamitous tour of South Africa earlier this year.

Here, we take a look at five talking points ahead of cricket’s oldest rivals going head to head.

STRONG AND STABLE

England arguably plumbed new depths at the last World Cup when they exited in the group stages with barely a whimper. Their subsequent transformation has been nothing short of remarkable and six series wins on the spin have taken them to the top of the ODI rankings, though defeat to Scotland was a wake-up call.

While there are plenty of vacancies in the Test team, England’s 50-over side almost chooses itself with only one or two spaces possibly up for grabs. A largely settled line-up is one of the reasons why they are strong contenders to go all the way at next year’s World Cup on home soil.

England have a largely settled squad for the 2019 World Cup.

England have a largely settled squad for the 2019 World Cup.

HALES FOR STOKES?

There will be one enforced change, at least for the start of the series, as all-rounder Ben Stokes recovers from a hamstring injury. However, England’s deep reserves of talent mean no squad member is irreplaceable.

Stokes’ well-publicised legal issues precluded him from England’s ODI series win in Australia earlier this year and, on that occasion, Alex Hales was brought in to further bolster the top order. The Nottinghamshire big-hitter will likely do so again unless England opt for a different approach and choose Sam Billings.

Hales could be set to take the place of the injured Stokes.

Hales could be set to take the place of the injured Stokes.

AUSTRALIA’S NEW CHAPTER

This tour marks the start of a new era for Australia, who are seeking to rebuild from the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa earlier this year that led to the suspensions of captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner.

The tourists are further weakened by the absence of injured fast bowlers Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, the trio whose presence proved so instrumental in the Ashes. England would have been favourites had the quintet been available but are more overwhelmingly so now.

England will be favourites with Australia beginning a new chapter.

England will be favourites with Australia beginning a new chapter.

THE ‘L’ WORD

Australia’s talk of the ‘line’ was as ubiquitous as it was much-maligned and even toxic during the Ashes, so there was a fair degree of schadenfreude when their misdeeds in South Africa were exposed.

Australia have attempted to draw a line under the controversy but captain Tim Paine and new head coach Justin Langer have insisted that Australia will continue to sledge on the field. Indeed, Langer claimed that sledging is in Australia’s DNA but warned: “There’s a difference between banter and abuse. There’s no room for abuse anywhere.”

Langer has said there is no room for abusing opponents.

Langer has said there is no room for abusing opponents.

OVERKILL

England are only six months removed from their tour of Australia, where they bounced back from their Ashes humbling to clinch a hugely impressive 4-1 series victory on the ODI leg of the tour. There is some logic to the England hierarchy’s apparent prioritising of the white-ball formats, especially with the 2019 World Cup in mind, but another 50-over series between these teams seems excessive.

Plenty would have preferred a decider against Pakistan after an entertaining two-Test series was left tantalisingly poised at one win apiece.

England seem to be playing too much white-ball cricket currently.

England seem to be playing too much white-ball cricket currently.

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Jos Buttler looks forward to 'massive summer' with England as he switches his attention to white-ball cricket

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Buttler is raring to go after a triumphant return to the Test side.

Jos Buttler is set to be embraced by more familiar surroundings this week following an encouraging return to England‘s Test side.

Ed Smith’s first major decision as national selector was to end Buttler’s 18-month exile from the longest format, convinced he was too talented to be confined merely to the limited-overs disciplines.

Fresh from a scintillating stint in the Indian Premier League, an in-form Buttler rewarded Smith’s judgement with a man-of-the-match display at Headingley as England drew the two-Test series against Pakistan.

Confidence should therefore be oozing out of the belligerent batsman’s pores as England turn their attention towards five one-day internationals in 15 days against Australia.

Buttler has been a prominent, even pivotal, figure in England’s white-ball metamorphosis from also-rans to the top of the International Cricket Council’s ODI rankings.

Series against Australia and India this summer should give England a clearer indication of how they are shaping up ahead of next year’s World Cup on home soil, for which they are strong contenders.

And England’s wicketkeeper-batsman is looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s a hugely exciting summer,” said Buttler, who is expected to return to the fold for Wednesday’s first ODI at The Oval after being rested for Sunday’s clash with Scotland in Edinburgh.

Buttler had put in a man-of-the-match display in the Headingley Test.

Buttler had put in a man-of-the-match display in the Headingley Test.

“Moving into the white-ball (matches), we’ve been playing some really good stuff.

“We’ve got to number one in the world, and Australia and India at home are going to be two massive tests.

“It’s an exciting couple of months coming up.”

Buttler’s recent rise began in India, where he has sometimes struggled to impose himself on the world’s grandest T20 stage – as a record of one fifty in his first 31 IPL contests would suggest.

But a move from the middle order to opener acted as a catalyst and scores of 67, 51, 82, 95no and 94no for the Rajasthan Royals saw him equal Virender Sehwag’s IPL record of five consecutive half-centuries.

There were not too many dissenters to his Test recall but there was plenty of discussion about whether a lack of first-class cricket would hinder his chances of success.

The early evidence suggests it will not as he followed up a defiant 67 at Lord’s with a mesmerising 80no in Yorkshire from the number seven position.

However, Buttler, who averaged a modest 31.36 from his first 18 Tests, must once again get used to being a man for all formats.

His last international century came against Australia earlier this year during England’s 4-1 series success Down Under – with his 100no from 83 balls comfortably the slowest of his five ODI tons but arguably his most mature innings.

And having proved his worth in the Test side, Buttler is on track to make this a summer to remember in his more natural white-ball environment.

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