IPL 2024: Take him to the T20 World Cup, experts want pace sensation Mayank in Indian team

The uncapped 21-year-old frequently topped the 150kph mark and walked away with his second successive player of the match award in the IPL

By Reuters

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Mayank Yadav (centre) shares a light moment with LSG teammates Nicholas Pooran (left) and Marcus Stoinis. — X
Mayank Yadav (centre) shares a light moment with LSG teammates Nicholas Pooran (left) and Marcus Stoinis. — X

Published: Wed 3 Apr 2024, 1:32 PM

Mayank Yadav stayed patient over the last two years as injury delayed his Indian Premier League debut but the 21-year-old has now emerged as cricket's latest pace sensation and is being touted as a potential wildcard for India's T20 World Cup team and the Test tour of Australia.

Lucknow Super Giants brought the speedster onboard in 2022 but he did not play a single match that season and a torn hamstring kept him out of last year's tournament.

Making his delayed IPL debut against Punjab Kings on Saturday, Mayank claimed 3-27, rattling the likes of England batter Jonny Bairstow with his express speed.

He hurled a 155.8kph thunderbolt in that match to register the league's fastest ball this season, prompting West Indian Ian Bishop to say he bowled "like a child of the wind".

Further proof of his fiery pace came in Tuesday's victory against Royal Challengers Bengaluru when he claimed 3-14 with Australians Glenn Maxwell and Cameron Green among his victims.

Mayank frequently topped the 150kph mark and walked away with his second successive player of the match award.

Lucknow captain KL Rahul said he was so happy to see Maynak deliver on his potential in the last couple of games.

"He quietly waited for two seasons because of injury but he has been working very hard," he added. "He understands bowling 155kph is not easy. It's great seeing him bowl that fast from behind the stumps."

RCB skipper Faf du Plessis was also hugely impressed with the Yadav's skills as a pace bowler.

"It is the new action you haven't faced before, and especially if there is a bit of pace behind it that's really promising," Du Plessis said.

"It takes batters time to get used to someone's action to see how the ball is coming out of the hand. So obviously pace is one thing but what impressed me tonight was his ability to control length and bowl with some really good discipline as well, so it's the pace combined with accuracy."

Former India Test batter WV Raman said Mayank should hone his long-format skills in county cricket before being unleashed in a five-Test series in Australia later this year.

Judging by the way his lightning-fast bowling stunned Maxwell and Green, Maynak would have no fears about taking on the world Test champions.

"Green's wicket was special for me because I bowled him, and every fast bowler likes that kind of dismissal," Maynak said. "I was bowling with more aggression having taken a wicket in the previous over."

Meanwhile, former Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Tom Moody said Indian selectors could be tempted to consider Yadav for this year's T20 World Cup in June.

"He is definitely in the conversation. Whether you take that risk punting on him or not is another conversation because you also need to consider what skillset you need in that reserve fast bowler - is it someone who is a powerplay bowler, or someone who has the ability to bowl at the death, all those subtle skillsets are important when you are talking about a T20 World Cup," the former Australian all-rounder told ESPNcricinfo.

Former New Zealand player Mitchell McClenaghan felt Yadav would be considered for a place in India's T20 World Cup if he continues to produce brilliant spells of fast bowling in the IPL. .

"If his form continues throughout this tournament, the World Cup starts six days after the IPL, I think it would be crazy not to look at the players who are in form going into that tournament," McClenaghan said.

"He may not have the caps behind him, but if he continues this vein of form and can keep his pace up throughout the whole tournament and keep winning games - he has won two games in a row, his first two games - then you are right in the mix. Long shot but you wouldn't say never."

Former India opener Virender Sehwag is also itching to see Yadav in international cricket.

"He has been an X factor in both the matches," former India opener Virender Sehwag said on Cricbuzz.

"He gets the top batsmen out -- it is Mayank's accurate line and length that impressed me," Sehwag added. "And because of that you can get him to play international cricket after the IPL."

Lucknow picked up Yadav for his base price of $24,000 at the 2022 IPL auction but he only warmed the bench that season and missed the 2023 edition because of injury.

With just one first-class appearance, for Delhi in December 2022, Yadav's elevation from frail 15-year-old to a lightning quick match-winner is like a fairytale -- but his club coach said he had expected it.

"I was not surprised at all," Davendra Sharma told Indian outlet Sportstar.

"He belonged to the big league because of his speed and the gift of bringing the ball in.

"It was only a matter of time for Mayank to make an impression nationally."

Playing for the country remains the biggest dream for the young pace sensation.

"Feel really good, two Player of the Match awards in two matches. I am happier that we won both the matches. My goal is to play for the country. I feel this is just the start,” Yadav said.


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