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IPL 2024: How god-fearing Mayank turned struggle into success

March 31, 2024 18:38 IST

IMAGE: LSG pace sensation Mayank Yadav has become the toast of the nation in 15 minutes flat and every Indian cricket fan would pray that he brings glory to the country for the next 15 years. Photograph: Lucknow Super Giants/Instagram

Mayank Yadav now guarantees instant destruction. But growing up with the aspirations and anxieties of ordinary Indians, he had had his fair share of struggles while transforming from a frail 15-year-old to a frighteningly quick fast bowler.

His father Prabhu Yadav was always determined to embrace the struggles usually associated with the middle class, in order to see Mayank excel on the cricket field.


Life has changed overnight for the Yadav family from West Delhi's Punjabi Bagh with the 24 deliveries that their 21-year-old son bowled for Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL 2024 match against Punjab Kings on Saturday.

Mayank has become the toast of the nation in 15 minutes flat and every Indian cricket fan would pray that he brings glory to the country for the next 15 years.

"If Ustaadji (Tarak Sinha) and Devender (Sharma) bhai had not been around, my son wouldn't have come this far. I wanted him to play cricket but they prepared him for all the big tests," Prabhu couldn't thank the late Tarak Sinha and current head coach (Devender) of the famous Sonnet Club enough for their contribution in his son's development.

The 6 feet 1 inch tall Delhi boy, who has had issues with multiple injuries in his short career, has turned heads with a 155.8 kmph delivery -- the fastest of IPL 2024.

"People watch IPL and they only saw Mayank yesterday but those who keep track knew that in last year's Deodhar Trophy, he had bowled a delivery at 155 clicks. It was unfortunate that he suffered from hamstring injury and had to miss the entire Ranji season. I have been saying for past four years that this boy is special," an elated Devender, the man who also shaped the phenomenon called Rishabh Pant, told PTI.

"Last year, twice he called me before IPL games to say that 'Sir, I would make my debut today,' and it didn't happen. Today I am very happy. He has made a start but has a long way to go."

IMAGE: Rishabh Pant wanted to rope in Mayank for Delhi Capitals, but LSG didn't agree to a transfer. Photographs: BCCI

The national selection committee led by Ajit Agarkar was keen on having a look at him during this year's Ranji Trophy which he was forced to sit out.

Devender recalled the time when Mayank's father, a small-time businessman with a shop in Delhi's Okhla, brought his son to the famous Sonnet Club when he was around 14.

"He looked very frail and didn't even have bowling spikes, but in Sonnet, if we find any boy to be special in terms of talent, kit and equipment is never a problem.

"At 15, with that weak physique of his, he could generate above average pace for his age-group. He has had his share of struggles but he always worked hard.

"He might look lean but he is very strong now with proper nutrition and regimented fitness. He is a pure vegetarian and an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna," Devender said.

Devender's most illustrious student Rishabh Pant wanted to rope in Mayank for Delhi Capitals, but LSG didn't agree to a transfer.

His father had his share of problems during COVID. He was earlier dealing in electronics equipment but is now in the business of selling sirens used in police jeeps and ambulances.

"I told my son, beta aapka kaam hai cricket khelna aur baki jaddojehaad jo hai, woh aapke baap ka kaam hai (Son, your job is to play cricket and your father's job is to face the challenges of life)," Prabhu said.

"Obviously, my dream is to see him wear the India shirt and represent the country for 15 years. He believes in Radha-Krishna and I believe in God. Almighty has plans for him and he will succeed," the proud father said.

His pace might have sent everyone for a tizzy but Devender recalled how he never allowed Mayank to bowl with Kanchaas, colloquial term for hard brick-like locally manufactured red balls often used in Delhi cricket.

"The kind of pace he has, I would always fear if he bowls with Kaanchas, he would end up hurting the batters with his raw pace. I always gave him SG balls, which are slightly softer and you play competitive cricket with SG balls," former Delhi Ranji wicketkeeper Devender said.

Mayank's pace is certainly going to excite the national selectors but with processes in place, he would be integrated into the system after he consistently plays for one whole season.

"He is an exceptional talent and obviously, he is a candidate for exclusive pace bowling contract like Aakash Deep, Umran Malik or Vijaykumar Vyshak. He has to play the full IPL. But he is injury-prone and has to show that he can last a full season including Ranji Trophy.

"For the time being he would be seen as a white ball prospect unless he plays Ranji Trophy. But he needs to play India A and smaller bilateral rubbers first," a senior BCCI source told PTI.

On Mayank, England fast-bowling legend Stuart Broad gave some fine technical insights on 'Star Sports'.  

"He's (Mayank) got a very calm run-up that gathers pace throughout. He's balanced at the crease. I think when you bowl that sort of pace at 156, if you give width, you disappear.

"But he was at the batters, he was over the stumps, cramping them and they were trying to give themselves room to open up the offside. He was coming in there and getting high-quality players, beating them with pace. As IPL debuts go, it was spectacular, really," Broad said.

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