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.
Upendra is the third wicketkeeper of the ‘Orange army’ which also bought South African wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen for a sum of Rs 5.25 crore and retained Kiwi Glenn Phillips for Rs 1.5 crore.
Speaking to TOI over phone from Delhi, 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.
Hailing from Kanpur, Upendra made his Ranji debut in 2016 under skipper Suresh Raina.