Former New Zealand captain and Kolkata Knight Riders head coach Brendon McCullum said he is incredibly happy for Umesh Yadav, saying the senior India bowler is an asset to the 2-time champions in the IPL 2022 season.
McCullum, speaking to the media after KKR’s 3-wicket loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore in a last-over thriller on Wednesday, said Umesh has been told not to worry about going for a few extra runs with the new ball but looks to be as aggressive as he can.
Umesh is among the leading wicket-takers in the new season after having 4 scalps in 2 matches. The 34-year-old pacer, who last played limited-overs cricket for India in February 2019, rocked the RCB batting unit on Wednesday, picking up 2 early wickets, including that of Virat Kohl, and gave away just 16 runs in his 4-over quota.
Against Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2022 opener, Umesh picked up 2 wickets and conceded just 20 runs. The “Strongman” has been able to get the ball to move in the air at pace and get the early breakthroughs for KKR this season.
“Umesh Yadav has been simply outstanding. I was lucky enough to play with Umesh when I was still playing the game back then and I knew how good a bloke he was and how much of a talent he was, especially with hee new ball if there was assistance,” McCullum said.
“His brief is very much to try and take wickets for us. If he goes for a few runs, we don’t care, we just want to have the attacking mentality.
“In two games, he has done more than we could have asked for,” the New Zealand tactician added.
Umesh Yadav has played 2 matches in the IPL over the last 2 years. He was picked up by Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021 but did not play a single game for them. Umesh went unsold twice in the mega auction earlier this year but KKR showed faith in him and bought him for Rs 2 crore.
‘UMESH HUGE ASSET’
McCullum highlighted that Umesh may be in the twilight of his career but the senior paceman is still fit and hungry.
The KKR head coach said that the Vidharbha pacer will be crucial to their plans in the ongoing season, considering the help of fast bowlers in Mumbai, which is hosting a majority of the league stage matches.
“He has done a wonderful job and, hopefully, that continues.
“I know he is closer to the end of his career. But he is still incredibly fit, very very driven and we see him as a huge asset for us, especially in the early stages of the tournament when the ball is still swinging and seaming,” McCullum added.
With the T20 World Cup set to be held in Australia later this year, a string of consistent performances from Umesh could bring him back into the limited-overs mix.