Man on the go: Meet J&K cricketer Yudhvir Singh Charak, latest to join Mumbai Indians squad for IPL-2021

Yudhvir Singh Charak is the latest to be inducted into Mumbai Indians: Special Arrangement/GK

Being on the go is perhaps in 23-year-old Yudhvir Singh Charak’s genes. His grandparents along with his parents had moved from Rajouri district to their current residence in Roop Nagar area of Jammu district some fifty years ago. On 17 December, 2019, Yudhvir made his first class debut for Hyderabad down south instead of his home state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The choice probably was offbeat rather than a snub altogether to the home side.

“I thought let me just play on my own terms rather than going by anybody’s say,” Yudhvir told Greater Kashmir from Hyderabad over phone over making the unconventional move.

The rookie may well be a cricketer extraordinaire in the making as he is the only player from J&K to make the cut at this year’s IPL auctions held recently where he was bought by five times champions Mumbai Indians even as power hitter Abdul Samad was retained by the Sunrisers Hyderabad in his second year at the T20 cricketing extravaganza.

Interestingly, the Jammu lad was apparently an underdog going into the IPL 2021 auctions while Kashmir pacer, Mujtaba Yousuf, who accompanied the same Mumbai Indians team to the UAE in last year’s IPL and was called for the trials by the team management was touted as a potential fresh face besides another highly rated youngster from Jammu, Omran Malik.

An official in the J&K Cricket Association told Greater Kashmir that 11 players from the union territory including the seasoned domestic cricketer, Parvez Rasool and Mujtaba had filed their nominations for this year’s auctions out of which only four made it to the bidding stage, but none came under the hammer.

And Yudhvir was not even in the discussion among officials at the JKCA and understandably so as he does not represent the union territory.

But the young man believes he was already in the hunt as he accompanied the Mumbai Indians to UAE for last year’s IPL where he remained in the management’s radar.

“I did well in the nets there and followed it up with a good show in the Mushtaq Ali Trophy recently, so I was in the consideration of the team management,” he said.

The meager six T20 match experience may not be a statistic on Yudhvir’s side, but the mere selection into Mumbai Indians squad, which boasts of modern day greats of the game including “run-machine” Rohit Sharma, probably the best modern day Indian bowler, Jasprit Bumrah, all-rounders Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya to count a few, is a big reinforcement in itself.

“I will give my 110 percent in upcoming practice,” an excited Yudhvir, who sees himself a bowling all-rounder, quipped when asked about his approach to his maiden IPL call up.

Yudhvir said he considers his bowling as his strength and bowls at a speed of around 141 kilometres an hour.

While he was drawn towards multiple sports right from his childhood, Yudhvir said his cricketing journey started only in 2016, the reason he has not represented India at the international level, he added.

“In 2016, I started playing under-19 at the domestic level and later started representing Hyderabad in Ranjhi Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy,” Yudhvir recalled.

The youngster credited his parents and his coaches-Vivek Sambyal in Jammu and Adnan Bafana in Hyderabad besides cricketers Ambati Rayudu and Mohammad Siraj for his maiden call up to the Mumbai side.

Given the depth in the Mumbai Indians’ team and cut-throat competition for slots, the Jammu newbie may not find a place in the playing 11 right away. However, owing to same reasons, his mere inclusion in the MI squad per se, has already raised the curiosity level across Jammu and Kashmir no matter Yudhvir does not officially represent the union territory.