LUCKNOW: It was Upendra Singh Yadav‘s unbeaten double hundred (off 239 balls) with three partnerships for the seventh, eighth and ninth wickets in the Ranji Trophy Group B match against Mumbai in 2020, which drew IPL selectors’ attention towards the Uttar Pradesh wicketkeeper-batsman.
Just two months before this match, the junior clerk in the engineering department of North Eastern Railway’s (NER) Lucknow division had hammered an unbeaten 70 off 41 balls (4 fours, 5 sixes) to power Uttar Pradesh to a five-wicket win over Tamil Nadu in a Group B match of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 cricket tournament in November 2019.
Based on his performance, on Friday, the Mumbai Indians raised a bid of Rs 20 lakh to buy the 26-year-old Kanpur lad. However, SunRisers Hyderabad were quick to raise the bid and buy him for Rs 25 lakh. Yadav is the third wicketkeeper of the ‘Orange army’ which also bought South African wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen for a huge sum of Rs 5.25 crore and retained Kiwi Glenn Phillips for Rs 1.5 crore.
Speaking to TOI over phone from New Delhi, after a match against Punjab in Ranji Trophy which was being played at the Karnail Singh stadium of Indian Railways, Upendra said, “We were having a team meeting after the match when one of my teammates informed me about my selection for the IPL. I’m happy to be part of SunRisers Hyderabad.” Son of retired sub-inspector Dewan Singh Yadav of UP Police, Upendra gives full credit for his success to his elder brother Varun Yadav (31).
“My brother gave up his dream of becoming a cricketer for me. Right from 6 am till evening, he would stick around me – guiding me and taking care of all things I required to keep myself focused on my game,” said Upendra, who is a science graduate and joined Railways in 2017 through sports quota as a wicketkeeper-batsman for NER Gorakhpur. Hailing from Kanpur, Upendra made his Ranji debut in 2016 under skipper Suresh Raina, while he made his T-20 debut in 2014 under leg-spinner Piyush Chawla.
“Apart from the support from my family, friends and coaches, the Indian Railways has been immensely supportive. My seniors in NER have always promoted and motivated me to improve my game,” added Upendra who is known for his composure on the field and idolizes former Indian skipper and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Satya Narayan Singh, chairperson of Kanpur Cricket Association, said, “Upendra is a calm character with an explosive style of batting. He came into limelight after he hit 203 not out against Mumbai in a Ranji Trophy match. He has played matches for India A team against New Zealand, Bangladesh and South Africa.”
By the time this report was filed, Upendra was flying to Indore along with his Indian Railways cricket team members to play against Delhi in the ongoing Ranji Trophy.

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