IPL 2024: What you need to know about Mayank Yadav, LSG's new seam sensation

The find of the tournament (so far) hails from West Delhi's Punjabi Bagh

Mayank Yadav Lucknow Super Giants' Mayank Yadav celebrates the dismissal of Punjab Kings' Jitesh Sharma | AP

Mayank Yadav 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 game against Punjab Kings on a Saturday evening.

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 and Devender 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 (Ustaadji) and current head coach (Sharma) 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 156 kmph delivery, the fastest ever bowled in the history of IPL.

"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."

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 DC 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-Krishan 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," Devender, the former Delhi Ranji keeper, said.


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