Kolkata: He was a state level javelin thrower, decent shuttler but 20-year-old Vidarbha lad Lalit Yadav found his true calling in cricket after he saw the illustrious senior Yadav – Umesh – rattle the batsmen with sheer pace.
The youngster then knew that he has to be like his "Umesh Bhaiya' (they are not related) and seriously took up cricket.
Having graduated to senior level this year, young Lalit, son of an Indian Airforce officer has taken successive five-wicket hauls.
No wonder, the Vidarbha boys have nicknamed him "Chota Babloo" in sync with Umesh's nickname.
"I won state junior championships (in badminton and javelin) six years ago but I always wanted to be a fast bowler. I went for trials and got selected," the latest entrant from the Vidarbha speed stable stated.
Having made his Ranji debut against Odisha, Yadav picked his career-best first five-for and match haul of eight wickets against Karnataka in his third match. Today he grabbed 5/81 against Maharashtra even though a defeat looks imminent for his team.
He bowled with pace and accuracy as Maharashtra lost seven wickets for 92 runs to be dismissed for 332 in the first session.
"I love to bowl with pace," Yadav said recollecting his MRF Trial three years ago where he clocked 138kph-plus.
Having been groomed by former India seamer Subroto Banerjee at the VCA Academy, Lalit is now under the tutelage of Vidarbha coach Paras Mhambrey and is regularly in touch with "Umesh Bhaiya".
"Whenever he comes to Nagpur, I meet him. He always supports me with his vast knowledge of pace bowling. I'm really grateful."
Showering praise on the youngster, Mhambrey said: "It's really exciting to work with the talented youngsters. He's promising and he can reach 140-plus if we work on him."