Mayank Yadav the X-factor that Lucknow hoped he could be  

Mayank Yadav for LSG (Image: IPL)

It was in late January that I got a call from Sanjeev Goenka, who sounded excited. Anyone who knows him will know he isn’t one to get animated easily. “Mayank Yadav is clocking 150kmph regularly,” he told me. Before I could even understand where he was headed and what he was saying, he added, “He will be our X-factor in the IPL.”

While I found the conversation interesting, I did not do anything about it. There was no way to find out who had informed Goenka about it, and without first-hand information it wouldn’t be fair to do the story. But I still remember the words. “Everyone in the camp is excited by him,” said Goenka. “He has had injury issues before and we are determined to do all we can for him because he could be the game-changer for us.”

As Mayank takes the IPL by storm, I am reminded of this conversation. Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) have invested in Mayank and are reaping the benefits of it. Even when he was injured, the franchise backed him. They were conscious that he needed support and did not dither in extending assistance to him.

Mayank Yadav in action (Photo: IPL)

This is where the IPL becomes relevant. Mayank is who he is today because he has performed in the IPL. Watched by millions, he has become a star overnight. Had he done this in any other tournament, he would not be trending. He wouldn’t be discussed by legends globally, and wouldn’t become the talk of the country. The IPL is, in every sense, a global platform that can catapult you to fame. If Mayank does go on to make the T20 World Cup team, it will be yet another example of the impact of the IPL.

However, he should also remember that things will not always go well. All this media glare and praise are there as long as he is doing well. Umran Malik is a really good example in front of him. Fame is heady. It can create a halo and a world which is make-believe. One injury and all of this could come crashing down. That’s what Mayank will have to guard against. When the going is good, things are easy. It is when the going gets hard that the tough need to get going.

There is little doubt that he is the find of this season of the IPL. Everyone wants a piece of him and he is flying. But there will come a day when he crash-lands. When the wickets won’t come, and the balls won’t land where he wants. Does he have it in him to pick himself up and go again? Face the bad as well as the good? That’s what will define Mayank in the future, and determine if Goenka makes another call going forward. This time, to retain Mayank.


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