IPL 2024: Is it time to fast-track pacer Mayank Yadav into the Indian team? | Cricket News – Times of India

MUMBAI: With each thunderbolt that Mayank Yadav is unleashing in IPL 2024, the latest one was a 156.7kph rocket which shattered his own record of 155.8 kmph there is now a growing buzz that the 21-year-old pace sensation from Delhi should be picked for the T20 World Cup in West Indies and USA in June.
Word going around is that the decision-makers in Indian cricket are impressed with the pacer.“He’s ready for top-level cricket. The time to play him is now, when he has genuine pace, not when he loses this rare quality. In the past, India have lost out on tearaway pacers as they were made to play too late in their career, by which time they went down in pace the case of former India pacer Abey Kuruvilla in the 90s is a classic example. At the moment, Mayank has a terrific chance of being picked for the T20 World Cup,” a source told this paper.
Batting for Mayank being fast-tracked into the Indian team, former India chief selector MSK Prasad told TOI: “Genuine fast bowlers are a rare commodity. If you see Javagal Srinath, or all the other great fast bowlers, they never spent so much time in domestic cricket. If you feel that a bowler has got pace, accuracy and game intelligence, then why not pick him straightaway? He’s got a good change of pace also. With Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj as certainties, just imagine what firepower the inclusion of Mayank will add to India’s pace attack!”
It is the young turk’s accuracy which has convinced Prasad that he can play for India. In fact, the former India gloveman went on to compare Mayank’s arrival on the scene to the way Bumrah arrived. “We’ve seen other young pacers who’ve bowled very fast in the past, but they lack game intelligence and can be wayward. They can be groomed over time, but Mayank already looks like a seasoned bowler. When we saw Bumrah in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy many years back, we picked him straightaway for India and he never looked back. I’m sensing something similar with Mayank,” Prasad said.
“When someone can consistently trouble Aussie or English batters, for whom playing fast bowling is bread and butter, then why not fast track him. He’s a ‘corridor’ bowler. All the batters whom he has dismissed so far couldn’t handle his pace or accuracy. The situation demanded that they play a shot, but all of them were late and were beaten by sheer pace,” Prasad praised.
As someone who saw his potential early and pushed for his selection for the senior Delhi team after he saw Mayank hurrying up the batters while taking nine wickets for the Delhi Under-19 team against Madhya Pradesh in 2022, former Delhi selector and leg-spinner Chetanya Nanda feels the time to blood the young speed gun is now. “When I saw him for the first time, the batters were standing away from the stumps while facing him! I pushed for his selection in the Delhi team in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and he did well. I feel that he should be picked for the T20 World Cup,” Nanda stressed.
Former Australian quick Brett Lee and South Africa and Punjab Kings star fast bowler Kagiso Rabada are the latest addition to the Mayank fan club as is former Aussie all-rounder Tom Moody.
However, there are those who believe that Yadav is “too raw” at the moment and “injury-prone”— he did suffer a side-strain injury that kept him out of the IPL last year after the Lucknow Super Giants picked him.
“Right now, he’s too raw. He’s only played in two IPL matches. Don’t forget that he’s injury-prone too. We don’t know if he’ll be able to play for the entire IPL season or not. It’s better that he goes through the proper channels, like playing for India A first. He has played just one game for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy. Plus, there are already fast bowlers in the Indian team who’ve proven themselves. What if he concedes around 50 runs each in his next three matches,” former India selector and off-spinner Sarandeep Singh reasoned.
Since raw pace isn’t available that easily, there’s also a fear that it shouldn’t be wasted. In the 2022 IPL, Jammu and Kashmir pacer Umran Malik had waltzed his way into the Indian team after consistently clocking above 150kph and picking 22 wickets in 14 matches. However, neither was Malik handled well, nor did he do justice to his initial promise.
For the sake of Indian cricket, one hopes that Mayank’s case would be different.

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