A new star was born this weekend! Mayank Yadav - naam yaad rakhna…

Playing his debut match in the IPL, Mayank, one of LSG’s very own, wrecked through the Punjab Kings batting line-up with his searing pace and drove straight into the hearts of Lucknow fans.

The world, too, stood up and took notice of the young pacer’s incredible talent with plaudits pouring in from all corners of the world. Even Aussie fast bowling legend Brett Lee stamped his approval.

“India has just found its fastest bowler. Mayank Yadav, Raw pace. Very impressive,” Lee noted.

To sum up Mayank’s masterclass of a spell on debut, we put up 199 on the board against PBKS after batting first at the Ekana. However, Jonny Bairstow and Shikhar Dhawan put on a brilliant opening stand and the match seemed lost.

When skipper Nicholas Pooran tossed the ball to Mayank to bowl the 10th over, PBKS were in cruise control at 88/0. The youngster, Pooran’s final throw of the dice in the match, got taken for 10 in his first-ever IPL over but his pace and aggression seemed to have unsettled both set batters, who had looked extremely comfortable out in the middle until that juncture.

The spring in Mayank’s run-up had renewed Ekana’s hopes and from his second over, the mayhem started. The first of the six thunderbolts measured a fiery 155.8kmph on the speedgun - the IPL 2024’s fastest delivery - while the third brought Mayank’s maiden IPL wicket with Bairstow falling victim.

Mayank continued to steam in and flirted with the 150kmph barrier almost at will. By the time he was finished with his four allotted overs with figures of 3/27, Punjab’s chase was done too. Prabhsimran Singh and Jitesh Sharma were the youngster’s other victims on the night.

We won the match, one which seemed truly lost at one point, by a comfortable margin of 21 - the same as Mayank’s age.

However, it wasn’t just Mayank’s raw speed which earned him the dream debut. As Nicky P would go on to gush later, “He was truly inspiring. Bowling fast is one thing, but bowling fast with that accuracy is something special.”

Such was the Mayank Yadav impact that even Mayan’s childhood hero, South African legend Dale Steyn, came out to issue an ‘I see you’ message to the young prodigy.

“Didn’t think this would go so well. Debuts are nervy affairs but mine melted away once I bowled the first ball,” Mayank himself said while receiving the Player of the Match award.

It took Mayank just one spell to send the cricketing world into a frenzy. Incidentally, his 155.8kmph is also the second-fastest delivery recorded by an Indian bowler after Umran Malik.

So, who is Mayank Yadav?

Born in Delhi and raised in Motinagar, Mayank Yadav was inspired to take up fast bowling by his father Prabhu Yadav, who would narrate stories of West Indian pace legend Curtly Ambrose to his young son.

Growing up, Mayank was famous or infamous as sar pe maarne wala bowler (the bowler who hits on the head) in Delhi’s cricketing circuit for his ability to harass batters with short and fast deliveries. On Saturday, Punjab batters found out why first hand.

“We started off well, but Mayank bowled well with his pace. It was nice facing him, I was surprised at his pace,” opposition captain Dhawan said about the young batter after the match.

Mayank never played U-14 or U-16 cricket for Delhi but his raw talent was apparent and before long, he was mentored by the late Tarak Sinha, who was also Rishabh Pant’s coach.

Mayank made his Delhi debut in the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2022, where he caught the eyes of Vijay Dahiya, our former assistant coach. We bought the youngster on board at the 2022 IPL mega auction and at the time Mayank had just played two List A games and no first class matches.

However, Mayank has been dealing with a series of injuries since then, which delayed his inevitable debut. He missed the entirety of the 2023 season with a torn hamstring.

Mayank has impressed in domestic cricket. He was one of Delhi’s best bowlers at last year’s Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He also turned heads in the 2023 Deodhar Trophy, picking up 12 wickets in five games for North Zone at an average of 17.58.

Mayank made his Ranji Trophy debut against Maharashtra in December 2022.

With truckloads of pace and potential and age on his side, only sky's the limit for Mayank.