India seemed to have found a future star in the Under-19 World Cup as 18-year-old Yashasvi Jaiswal ended up as the tournament's highest run-getter with 400 runs in six innings and also won the Player of the Tournament award.
Although India lost in the final, Jaiswal had a great tournament personally. But he believes that he still has a long way to go in order to reach his ultimate goal of playing for India in the senior level.
Jaiswal told The Indian Express,
"Since childhood, I was clear in what I wanted to do. I left my home, left all my comfort so that I can reach where I want too. I haven’t reached nowhere near to my dream of playing for India.
“How many Under-19 players you can recall now? This World Cup is good for exposure but we also have to see how many go on to play for India?”
In his early days, Jaiswal used to bat lower down the order at number six but then it was junior selector Aashish Kapoor who backed him as an opener during a tournament in Sri Lanka and the rest is history.
“I am thankful to him (Kapoor sir); else probably I won’t be here today. I didn’t have great numbers before that batting at No. 6 but he had faith in me. His decision changed my life.”
Like many other young players such as Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill, even Jaiswal has benefited from former Indian batsman Rahul Dravid's stint as the Under-19 coach. He explained how Dravid's advice helped him build innings in the Under-19 World Cup.
“Rahul sir said, my role as batsman would always keep changing depending on partner and situation. He told me to plan accordingly and to understand the tempo of the game and the team’s requirement. Those words are fresh in my mind and it helped me to build my knocks. I remember he also said, ‘this is perfect platform for you, take time, you have all the shots.”
At just 18 years of age, Jaiswal showed immense maturity and composure and if he is able to sustain his mindset for a long period of time and back it up with consistent domestic performances, he will soon be in the reckoning for a spot in the Indian team.
“The only thing I know is cricket, I don’t know rest (baaki duniya-daari mujhe nahi aati). My life is those 22 yards and I am ready to do anything – be it fitness, fielding, anything – to reach my goal for playing for India.”