How Mayank Yadav’s heavy artillery left RCB in a state of bewilderment

Mayank Yadav sets the IPL on fire. Source (X)

A 21-year-old fast bowler from Delhi isn’t just bowling rockets, but also extracting disconcerting bounce by slamming the ball into the pitch. That is an apt description for Mayank Yadav, the young pace sensation. If the pace hurries up the batter, then the bounce acts like an arrowhead, with the ball hitting higher up on the splice. So, when a batter eyes the pull or hook, he has less chance of landing the stroke. 

And that is exactly what happened during the Royal Challengers Bengaluru-Lucknow Super Giants game played at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. To verify this point further, zoom into Glenn Maxwell’s dismissal a few times. The delivery pitched short of a length and subsequently nipped back into the right-hander. That is the exact frame where you have to pause the video to notice how it has jammed up the batter’s attempted hoick across the line. All that Maxwell could do was tamely spoon a catch. In cricketing parlance, it is better known as the ‘heavy ball’.

Maxwell’s wicket was followed by a remarkable event: Cameron Green, the all-rounder, being castled by a fast nip-backer. Instead of focusing on the end result – the stumps getting rattled – let’s rewind the action by a few seconds. For a moment, pause around the time Mayank releases it and maximise the screen to have a closer look at his wrist position. Basically, the grip suggested it was canted towards the first or second slip. But he pounded the pitch hard and it jagged back off the seam at pace to clean up a bewildered Green. 

The question still remains answered. How did it nip back off the seam, instead of carrying on via the original path? Was it some kind of sorcery? It could be due to a couple of reasons. As there wasn’t much backspin imparted on the ball, it seamed back the other way. Or, as he has a tendency to slam the pitch hard, it ensured there was natural variation off the deck. Pat Cummins, the Australian captain, especially the younger version, used to bowl in that fashion. 

Whatever be the case, it was easily the best delivery of the ongoing IPL. That particular video would be echoing in the minds of those who witnessed it for many more years and also shared millions of times on various digital platforms. He completed his three-wicket-haul for the day by removing Rajat Patidar. In his brief stay at the crease, Patidar seemed to have a little more time on his hands compared to a couple of his teammates against genuine pace. But Patidar has had his share of detractors who would point to his lack of temperament.

On a pleasant night, we saw a little more evidence of Patidar’s tendency to throw his wicket away. In the 15th over, Mayank ushered in a short delivery that was bowled outside the line of off stump. Patidar could have employed the upper-cut or ramp. Instead, he chose the pull as his go-to shot and had to trudge his way back to the pavilion. 

Lest we forget, Mayank has showcased his heavy artillery in more than one game. In LSG’s previous encounter, Jonny Bairstow, Jitesh Sharma and Prabhsimran Singh were all dismissed on the back of being unable to counter Mayank’s Unique Selling Proposition – the ability to hit the bat hard. 

Scroll through even a few old videos from domestic cricket, and it could be seen that enough batters were hopping while facing a bowler who extracts that little bit of extra kick. It is quite clear that the bit of extra bounce from a slightly fuller length acts as a buffer against the big-hitting prowess of modern-day batters.

At 21, Mayank has become a star. The internet is flooded with numerous anecdotes of his upbringing and how his skills were nurtured. Mayank’s celebratory high jumps after picking up a wicket are already the talk of the town. 

Here is a fast bowler who has the potential to run through sides across formats with a lethal cocktail of pace and bounce, provided he is nurtured and groomed. That will excite Indian cricket fans as they wait with bated breath for the young fast bowler to wear the national team’s jersey. 


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