Mayank Yadav: I didn’t think my debut would go that well

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It was a debut to remember for Mayank Yadav who cranked up the pace and tore through the Punjab Kings batting unit, to help Lucknow Super Giants record their first win of the season.

Mayank picked up 3 for 27 in his four overs, and the Player-of-the-Match award, but it was his pace that had everyone stand up and take notice. He clocked 147kph on the speed gun with his first ball, and jacked it up to 155.8kph in his second over, the fastest ball in the IPL 2024, so far.

Having dealt with some injury issues over the last year, the Delhi lad couldn’t have hoped for a better start to his IPL journey. “I didn’t really think it [my debut] would go that well. I have heard from the others that there can be nervousness on debut. But after the first ball, all my nervousness went away,” Mayank said at the post-match presentation. “Everyone said to not take too much pressure, just bowl on the stumps, and use the pace. That’s what I did.”

Mayank was the last of the six bowlers used by LSG but created the most impact after Kings had raced away to 102 for 0 in the 12th over chasing 200 in Lucknow. He was taken for two fours in his first over but came back to remove Jonny Bairstow with a 142kph back of a length ball that hurried the batter and had him caught at deep midwicket.

The 21-year-old was then hit for a six by Prabhsimran Singh, but kept taking the aggressive option and found immediate reward, beating Prabhsimran for pace and inducing a top-edge that went only as far as mid-on. He accounted for Jitesh Sharma as well and Kings lost all of their momentum to finish on 178 for 5.

“I thought I might need to use the slower ball, but there was help from the wicket, the captain [Nicholas Pooran] said to just go with the pace,” Mayank said. “The debut wicket was my favourite.”

Kings captain Shikhar Dhawan admitted he was surprised by the pace that Mayank generated, and agreed the fast bowler outsmarted his batters.

“We started off quite well, and thought we could chase down the score easily but the new lad Mayank bowled really well. His pace outsmarted us and we ended up losing the game,” Dhawan said.

“It was nice facing him. He surprised me that he was bowling that quick. As an experienced player, I knew I was going to use his pace rather than go against him. That was my strategy towards him, but even then, he bowled it quite smartly. He knew that I was ready for a bouncer and bowled me two yorkers.”

Mayank was picked up by LSG for his base price of INR 20 lakh at the mega auction in 2022, but he has been laid low with injuries and had to wait until now to make his mark.

“I had goals to debut at a young age, but then can’t do anything about the injuries,” he said.

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