Pacer Umesh Yadav feels that the current Indian bowling attack has the ability to take 20 wickets in a Test match during India's tour of South Africa, the side's litmus test following a string of successes at home. "The wickets in South Africa will put the focus back on the fast bowling unit and rightly so," Yadav said. "There will be a lot of expectation from us and I believe this attack has the ability to get 20 South African wickets. All of us had a good 14 months at home and it's time to translate into overseas success."
What makes Yadav optimistic is the lion-hearted performance of the pacers on rather unresponsive home tracks in recent times. "I believe good fitness, proper plans were key to our success in the sub-continent. But the main thing is the attitude with which you enter the field. If we can maintain it in South Africa, no one can stop us," said the man, who is one shy of completing 100 Test wickets.
Sanjay Manjrekar, in a column, had urged Yadav to bowl a line where batsmen don't leave most of his deliveries and also owing to the suspect slip catching of the Indian team. Yadav felt like Kapil Dev, his strength is natural out-swinger and he doesn't want to lose it trying to bowl too many in-swingers.
"Like Kapil Dev, my natural delivery is out-swinger. If I try to bowl too many incoming deliveries, it can lead to me losing my out-swinger, which I don't want. Obviously, there will be a few change-ups with incoming deliveries but out-swinger remains my core strength," Yadav said.
Indian pacers got carried away with their line on earlier occasions when they got pacer-friendly wickets, but it won't happen this time around, Yadav assured.
"During earlier tours, we were younger and expectedly more excited. But now, all of us -- Ishant, Shami, Bhuvi and myself know how to curb our over enthusiasm. We will be assessing the conditions," said Yadav. "Like if it's hard and bouncy pitch, you have to hit the good length consistently while if it's spongy bouncy then I will have to pitch it up."
He made it clear that the national selectors never bracketed him as a "Test specialist" just because he has played only nine ODIs in the year 2017. Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been the first-choice white ball bowlers for some time now but the 30- year-old Vidarbha speedster does not want to read too much into the pattern of selection.
"I can tell you that the national selectors have been quite aware of the workload on myself and Mohammed Shami. They have been very supportive and at no point have they told us that we are not in their scheme of things as far as limited overs are concerned," Yadav clarified.
"There have been times when we have gone up to the selectors and have asked for rest having bowled a lot of overs in Test matches. When you are playing all formats, there is bound to be more wear and tear," Yadav, who has 102 wickets from 71 ODIs said.
He reminded about the importance of taking care of niggles after Test matches.
"I also need to take care of my body and ensure that I remain as much injury free as possible. You don't want to play with niggles and end up with major injury," said Umesh who has 40 wickets in the 17 Tests that he has played in last 14 months.
There is intense competition for pace bowling slots in the Indian team but Yadav is not at all insecure about his place.
"You are not insecure when you are aware about your capacity to play. I know how much cricket I can play at length and when my body requires rest. If you know how to manage workload, you are never insecure. When you take a break, it's only increases the longevity of one's career and you can avoid career-threatening injuries," he concluded.
(With PTI Inputs)