T20 2018: Meet Mayank Markande, from pacer to MS Dhoni's tormentor

Apr 09, 2018, 07:40 IST | Akshay Jagtap

MI leggie Mayank Markande, who befuddled Chennai skipper MS Dhoni with his googly, gave up bowling pace for spin at the behest of coach Sodhi

MI spinner Mayank Markande celebrates the wicket of CSK skipper MS Dhoni during the IPL opener on Saturday. Pics/Suresh Karkera
Mumbai spinner Mayank Markande celebrates the wicket of Chennai skipper MS Dhoni during the T20 opener on Saturday. Pics/Suresh Karkera

Had it not been for a coach in Patiala, Mumbai leg-spinner Mayank Markande would still be bowling fast in Punjab. Markande, 20, who befuddled Chennai skipper MS Dhoni with his googly at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday night, joined the National Institute of Cricket and Sports (NICS) academy in 2005.

Watching his flexibility, coach Maheshinder Sodhi, urged the teenager to try bowling spin. Soon, he could bowl a mean googly. Sodhi, the father of former international Reetinder, then asked him to spend time on his leg breaks and use the googly as a variation. But the googly was still Markande's key weapon. "Every kid comes to the academy with a dream of becoming a fast bowler. Mayank was no exception. He used to bowl a lot of back-of-the-hand deliveries with great effect while bowling fast. His flexibility prompted me to ask him to bowl leg-spin," Maheshinder told mid-day over the phone from Chandigarh yesterday.

Maheshinder Sodhi
Maheshinder Sodhi

Ambati Rayudu and Deepak Chahar were Markande's other victims on Saturday. Maheshinder couldn't watch Saturday's match on television, but the news of his ward's three-wicket show (which went in vain as CSK won by one wicket) was delivered to him in quick time.

The following morning, he got a call from Markande. "Mayank sounded very happy about his performance. He told me that it was his plan to bowl googlies in order to get wickets," the coach remarked, adding, "If a bowler can claim Dhoni's wicket in his first match, you can imagine his talent. He's been very hard working since his childhood. He's always listening to others and working on his game. Apart from these qualities, he is a very confident cricketer."

Meanwhile, Mumbai coach Mahela Jayawardene waxed eloquent on the debutant. "I thought he bowled brilliantly, we backed him when we saw him first at our camp. We knew that he was special. He had came for two trial games along with (Rahul) Chahar. We back our youngsters. We knew that this is the year we had to do it," said Jayawardene on how MI spotted Markande and gave him a break.

The former Sri Lankan skipper felt the youngsters accuracy and his control with the ball made the difference. "He is quite accurate and probably a bit different from a normal leg-spinner — the way he delivers the ball, the control he has with his variations. For a guy who has not played much T20 cricket, he is very confident. His attitude is great and we want to back these guys and give them an opportunity."

With inputs from Subodh Mayure

Also Read: IPL 2018: Here's an analysis of all the 8 teams competing for the trophy

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