Sanjay Yadav, Nellai's go-to batter
The southpaw has been on fire in the ongoing TNPL Season 6 with 212 runs in 4 outings
CHENNAI: Four Tamil Nadu Premier League 2022 games. Three ‘Player of the Match’ awards. Two records. One Sanjay Yadav.
Dynamic left-hander Sanjay has been the go-to batter for Nellai Royal Kings since the very first match of the ongoing TNPL Season 6. Be it for rescuing a sinking ship, producing a crucial cameo or delivering a middle-over masterclass, Nellai has been turning to the 27-year-old. In turn, Sanjay has been raising the bar with each passing fixture.
In the tournament opener in Tirunelveli, Royal Kings was in dire straits at 27 for three in the sixth over against Chepauk Super Gillies. But, Sanjay, in the company of L Suryapprakash, turned the tables with an exquisite 87 not out from just 47 deliveries.
In the team’s third match against Dindigul Dragons in Dindigul – a rain-curtailed one – Nellai had a daunting task of chasing 131 runs in 12 overs. Guess what? The southpaw stepped up to the plate and smashed an unbeaten, firework-filled 55 off 19 balls. Achieving his personal milestone in just 15 deliveries, he created two records – the fastest fifty of TNPL 2022 and the joint fastest half-century in the League’s history.
By Nellai’s fourth game of the season – against Siechem Madurai Panthers in Dindigul – Sanjay contributing became a routine. The hard-hitting batter went after the Madurai attack to finish with 70 not out off 42 balls. Unsurprisingly, he was nominated the ‘Man of the Match’ on all three occasions. So, how did Sanjay, who was predominantly used as a finisher in TNPL 5, bring consistency into his game despite slotting in at different positions?
“When I was with Mumbai Indians during the Indian Premier League 2022, I learnt a lot – about work ethic, on how to prepare mentally for a match, etc. By being mentally strong, one can adapt to different situations. The quicker we adapt, the better,” Sanjay, owner of 212 runs in four matches, told DT Next.
“I have been playing in the TNPL since its inception. This is my sixth year in the League. I have the experience of playing in every batting spot from No.1 to No.8. Since I have done both roles – playing up the batting order and playing as a finisher – I know how to pace my innings,” said Sanjay, who had represented the now-defunct TNPL teams VB Thiruvallur Veerans and VB Kanchi Veerans in the past.
“I know that I am capable of hitting big in the end overs. When I go in early, I just try to rotate the strike until the death overs, where I feel most comfortable at. If I manage to make an aggressive start when I walk out to bat early, it will obviously be good for the team. If I am unable to, I set the base so that I can launch in the last few overs. The most important thing for me is to stay until the end,” added all-rounder Sanjay, a household name in Tamil Nadu cricket in the last few years.
‘Our team is full of confidence’
Table-topper Royal Kings has been on a roll with four successive victories.
Talking about the recipe behind Nellai’s winning run, Sanjay said: “We made a few changes to our squad prior to the season. We made some mistakes last year. We tried to rectify them and have been ensuring that we do not repeat them. We back each other and are full of confidence. Clear roles have been given to every player in the squad. We also have a lot of options in both batting and bowling. The coaches and captain have been contributing a lot. The management has been pretty supportive. All these things have played a part.”