IPL: Mayank Yadav, bowling like a ‘child of the wind’

Just two matches old, the LSG pace sensation evokes calls to be fast-tracked into Test side against Aussies

Mayank Yadav (pictured), a young paceman for Lucknow Super Giants, has injected excitement into IPL 2024 with his lightning-fast deliveries (photo: BCCI)
Mayank Yadav (pictured), a young paceman for Lucknow Super Giants, has injected excitement into IPL 2024 with his lightning-fast deliveries (photo: BCCI)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

Mayank Yadav could be like a whiff of fresh air that IPL needed this season. Barely three days after the Lucknow Super Giants paceman hurled the fastest delivery of IPL 2024 at 155.8 kmph, he improved it to 156.7 kmph as he wrecked havoc against Royal Challengers Bengaluru at the latter’s  backyard on Tuesday, 2 April.

If the Chinnaswamy Stadium has had a reputation for being the killing fields of bowlers, the 21-year-old surprise package of the Lucknow franchise showed genuine pace can strike anywhere as he returned with highly impressive figures of 4-0-14-3 to claim back-to-back Player of the Match awards. In terms of economy rate, it was an improvement on 4-0-27-3 in the previous match against Punjab Kings in Lucknow on Saturday, 30 March.

A whippy action where Mayank generates a lot of pace from his shoulder, along with a better control than when Umran Malik blitzed into the scene, are his calling cards while the yorkers can be potential wicket-takers. The LSG management also deserves kudos for unleashing him at the right time after a nearly two-year probation period in the dugout, during which he has already had a tryst with injury.

‘’This Mayank Yadav kid bowling like a child of the wind…pphhoofff,’’ said an overwhelmed Ian Bishop, the former West Indian speedball and now a TV pundit, as he recommended the BCCI to hand him a fast bowling contract alongwith the existing five bowlers. There are raging posts on social media as well as by former cricketers who want him to be fast-tracked alongwith Jasprit Bumrah in the five-Test series in Australia, though one feels a call on that can wait for now.

The similarity in the manner Mayank broke through is uncanny with Malik, though the former has had a better grounding in domestic cricket with Delhi team while his apprenticeship against the likes of KL Rahul or Quinton de Kock at the nets can only help him in maturing faster. He has now become only the sixth bowler to claim back-to-back three-wicket hauls in 17 editions of the league, which has witnessed most of the fast bowling greats of the game in action.

Speaking at the post-match presentation on Tuesday, Rahul revealed how a Mayank delivery really thudded into his wicketkeeping gloves. ‘’Yeah one ball hit me really hard but so happy to see Mayank bowl the way he’s been bowling in the last couple of games. He’s patiently waited for two seasons in the dugout and missed out last year because of injury, unfortunately. But he’s been in Mumbai working with physios really hard.

‘’He understands that bowling at 155 kmph is not easy and in a young age, he’s had a few injuries. He’s really professional in looking after his body, it’s really good to see and has a great temperament. Enjoying seeing him bowl from probably 20 yards behind the stumps, that’s where I would like to be when he is bowling,’’ Rahul said with a smile.           

A product of India’s multi-tiered domestic structure, Mayank shone through in last year’s Under-23 Colonel C.K.Nayudu Trophy where he took 15 wickets in six matches. In the last Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, he was effective in claiming five wickets in four matches – including a couple in the semi-final even as Delhi went down to Punjab in the semi-final.

Next time as he marks his run-up against Gujarat Titans at home on 7 April (Sunday), stay tuned!

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