The 20 Year Old Leggie From Punjab
Markande’s maiden IPL, Mumbai Indians
Googlies and wrong uns found a new definition when Mayank Markande rolled his arms over in the ongoing season of the Indian Premier League for Mumbai Indians. Among the casualties he caused, there lies big names like Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ambati Rayudu, Shikhar Dhawan, Shakib Al Hasan and Manish Pandey.
The 20-year-old leggie from Punjab — playing in his maiden IPL tournament — is currently the Purple Cap holder (the highest wicket-taker) with eight wickets in four games.
It is to be noted that Markande owes his rise to a cricketing family — the Sodhis, comprising former India cricketer Reetinder Singh Sodhi and his father, Mahesh Inder Singh.
While Inder Singh coached Markande, Reetinder faced him at the nets.
“He had a terrific slower delivery which came from the back of the hand. Many a times, he has deceived me. I could never read that ball of his,” remembers Reetinder, who is thrilled to see the rise of the young boy who came to his father’s academy at the age of seven.
That slower delivery was later noticed by the senior Sodhi, who advised him to take up leg-spin. “My father told him to concentrate on leg-spin for flexible wrists,” added Reetinder.
All of Markande’s wickets in the IPL, so far, has been a delight for the spectators for his ability to dominate a batsman. Dhoni hadn’t anticipated the turn, so didn’t Wriddhiman Saha (Sunrisers Hyderabad). Sarfaraz Khan (Royal Challengers Bangalore) was beaten by flight too.
“I usually liked going after bowlers but I couldn’t do that with him. His strength is his accuracy. He bowls wicket-to-wicket,” Reetinder added.
Inder Singh received a call from his student a day after his debut game against Chennai Super Kings. “I asked him whether there was a plan behind all the dismissals or it just worked out. He told me he planned against Dhoni and got him out,” said the veteran coach.
Even the flipper to Rayudu was nicely set-up. “He plans against every batsman and he needs to keep practising and understand more on the angles. I keep citing the example of Sri Lanka great Muttiah Muralitharan when it comes to creating an angle with spin,” added Singh.
The World Cup 2019 squad more or less looks settled for India, but the ouster of champion tweakers like Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja is an example that the selectors are open to fresh talents.
Though Markande may not be considered for the mega event, but the youngster can be hopeful of a national call-up soon.