W Power 2024

IPL 2024: Mayank Yadav, the new speed gun of India

In India's cricket history, bowlers have rarely clocked 150kmph. The young pacer, part of Lucknow Super Giants squad in the Indian Premier League, hit this mark a couple of times in his very first over against the Punjab Kings in the game on March 30

Published: Apr 1, 2024 05:42:22 PM IST
Updated: Apr 1, 2024 06:14:55 PM IST

IPL 2024: Mayank Yadav, the new speed gun of IndiaLucknow Super Giants' Mayank Yadav bowls as Punjab Kings' captain Shikhar Dhawan (L) watches during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Lucknow Super Giants and Punjab Kings at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on March 30, 2024. Image: Arun Sankar / AFP

“Speed” is the word that has dominated the headlines in Indian cricket circles since March 30. In the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), Lucknow Super Giants were hosting Punjab Kings at Ekana Stadium and things were going great for Punjab. They were 88 for none in nine overs, chasing 200.

Then Lucknow brought on Mayank Yadav, a name that was unheard of, at least for people who did not follow India’s domestic cricket. A young pacer debuting in the world’s most-watched cricket league is a challenging experience. Still, before people could say anything about him, everyone suddenly started noticing the speedometer.

The bowling speed of 150kmph is a rarity, especially in Indian cricket. These days when it is mostly about hitting sixes and fours, majorly in T20 cricket, speed is the only other thing that excites people. In India’s cricket history, there have rarely been bowlers who have clocked 150kmph. Yadav had already hit this mark a couple of times in his very first over.

In the second over, he went a step ahead and bowled a delivery at 155.8kmph– the fastest of IPL 2024 and sixth fastest in the overall IPL history. Batters could be clearly seen facing the heat as they tried making room while facing him. In the next few overs, he changed the whole scenario of the match. His thunderbolts pushed Punjab from 88 for none in nine overs to 140-3 in 16.

The 21-year-old finished with the figures of 4-0-27-3 and helped Lucknow script an easy win of 21 runs. He was awarded as player of the match and most importantly, the entire cricket fraternity started talking about him and his speed. So, who is he and where was he until now?

Yadav comes from a humble family in Delhi. His father, Prabhu Yadav, works in a local factory. He was quite young when he picked a ball in his hand and at 14, he joined the Sonnet Club to give his passion wings. Late Tarak Sinha and Devender Sharma– the coaches at the club– needed bowlers in their club and were aware of Yadav’s humble background.

He had the natural pace and coaches at the club worked on his accuracy and within some time, his name spread around the Delhi cricket circles. People started talking about his pace as Yadav would scare batters with his pace and bounce.

“I love speed and always did, not just in cricket but in general life too. Be it a plane, rocket or superbikes. Speed excites me,” Yadav said after his debut.

However, despite his talent and speed, Yadav couldn’t play age-group cricket. Once when he was not picked for the Delhi U-19 team, Services offered him a place but the youngster denied it, considering it a challenge.

“I ran away after the Services guys told me that I was selected. I was not even giving my 50 percent but three or four bouncers I bowled, they were impressed. But I wanted to play for Delhi. Sir mai Delhi ka ladka hun aur yahi se khelna tha (I am a Delhi boy and I wanted to play for Delhi),” Yadav told Indian Express.

Also read: Amid India's batting galaxy, Jasprit Bumrah emerges as the lone bowling star

His attitude towards the game and never-ending passion finally earned him a place in Delhi’s senior team in 2022. Yadav’s rapid pace instantly grabbed the eyes of the right people. During one domestic tournament, Vijay Dahiya, former Indian cricket who was Lucknow Super Giant’s assistant coach back then, spotted him.
“We were having joint nets session. Suddenly, I noticed him in the adjacent nets and immediately called up Gautam Gambhir,” Dahiya told TOI.

Lucknow knew they had spotted a gem but now was the time to refine him as bowlers with immense pace are usually wayward and injury-prone. The franchise picked him at his base price of Rs20 lakh at the 2022 IPL auction. But the pacer couldn’t play the tournament and was ruled out because of an injury.

“We decided to invest in him. We were not going to play him in the first season because he wasn’t ready mentally and physically. He didn’t have miles in his legs since he didn’t play junior cricket at the state level. But he was an important investment for us. Nobody knew about him but we picked him at the auction,” Dahiya said.

Yadav kept working on his recovery and improving his skill set under Lucknow’s management. His comeback to competitive cricket straightaway showed the results. The right-arm pacer bowled thunderbolts in domestic cricket, constantly rattling batters with pace. He picked up wickets on intervals ahead of the IPL 2024.

Lucknow Super Giants were now ready to unveil the asset but weren’t sure of how he would start out, given the inexperience of playing at the highest level. But Yadav had waited for a long time to show the world what he was capable of. He ensured to leave a mark on his very first outing.

"I have always heard from others that there is nervousness in debuts but that goes away after the first ball. My plan was to not be under too much pressure, to bowl at the stumps and to use the pace as much as possible. There was the thought of mixing up the pace initially but the wicket helped and the skipper told me to bowl quick. The debut wicket was the favourite,” Yadav said at the post-match presentation on March 30.

Ever since his debut, the world has been talking about the young speed gun. Even some veterans of the game seem highly impressed with him and what he could do in the future.

“India has just found its fastest bowler. Mayank Yadav! Raw pace 👏🏻 Very impressive,” Brett Lee, former Australian cricketer who is one of the fastest bowlers to play the game, tweeted.

Another fast-bowling legend Dale Steyn was also amazed. “155.8 KPH! Mayank Yadav where have you been hiding!” he wrote on his X account.

Post Your Comment
Required, will not be published
All comments are moderated