KL Rahul nudges, Thakur delivers

Yash Thakur (Image: IPL)

Fourth over into Gujarat Titans’ run chase on Sunday night, and Mayank Yadav had the ball. Time to fasten the seat belt, but something felt amiss this time. A tearaway quick who has bowled the fastest ball (156.7 kph) in this year’s IPL yet, he was barely clocking 140 kph. Sai Sudharsan pounced on the opportunity and hit a couple of fours. Shubman Gill then slashed a very short and wide delivery over backward point for another boundary. Mayank was struggling and at the end of the over, he walked off the field, accompanied by the Lucknow Super Giants physio.

Of course, it was enough to sound alarm bells. Mayank’s injury record is not very good and as former South Africa fast bowler Fanie de Villiers told RevSportz only a few days ago, at 21 years of age, bowling at such a high pace could break a fast bowler. De Villiers advised “serious gym work” for the youngster. Much to everyone’s relief, however, it was confirmed after the match, Mayank’s injury wasn’t serious.

But he couldn’t take any further part in the game against Gujarat Titans and LSG were one seamer short. That was when LSG captain KL Rahul had a one-liner for Yash Thakur. “He (Rahul) told me, ‘this could be your day’,” Thakur said at the post-match press conference, after winning the Player of the Match award.

The 25-year-old medium pacer from Vidarbha was revelling in his maiden five-for (5-30) in the IPL. “Mein bohut khush hoon ki mujhe first time five-wicket haul mila hai IPL mein (I’m very happy to get a five-for for the first time in the IPL,” said Thakur. His wickets had been the results of perfect planning, and mixing the slower deliveries and bouncers judiciously.


“The plan we had for Gill, we had two fielders on the leg side. So, we knew he would try to make room. Rahul bhaiya told me to stick to my plans,” Thakur said at the post-match presentation.

The wicket of Rashid Khan was a reward for subtle change of pace, while the seamer deceived Rahul Tewatia by taking pace off the ball.

This, however, has been a continuation of a very good season for Thakur. He took 27 wickets at 25.81 from seven matches in the Ranji Trophy. In the final also, against Mumbai, he was the most impressive among the Vidarbha bowlers in the first innings, claiming 3-54. Thakur now has no regrets that he couldn’t become a wicketkeeper like MS Dhoni.

Thakur fell in love with cricket after watching the 2011 ODI World Cup and enrolled himself at Praveen Hinganikar’s academy, aiming to become a wicketkeeper like Dhoni. Just one look at the nets and Hinganikar knew the youngster’s talent lay elsewhere. He told him to become a fast bowler instead. It changed Thakur’s career.

At Vidarbha, he gradually rose to prominence under his mentor Umesh Yadav’s guidance. The latter was his opponent on Sunday. But Umesh must have taken a lot of pride in his protege’s success.


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