Yashasvi Jaiswal: The next big thing in Indian cricket
From living in a tent at Azad Maidan to scoring a century in the ICC U19 World Cup 2020 semifinal, Yashasvi Jaiswal has come a long way. He recently landed an Indian Premier League (IPL) deal with the Rajasthan Royals (RR), but that seems like just the start.
The young batting prodigy captured the headlines with an unbeaten knock of 105 runs to beat arch-rivals Pakistan by 10 wickets and take his side to the finals of the competition for the third time in a row.
Jaiswal's journey started seven years ago, when he was only 11 years old. Born in Uttar Pradesh, Jaiswal landed in Mumbai with a heart full of dreams. However, it was not just cricket that took up his time; he had to work hard to sustain a living as it was difficult for his father, who owns a shop in Bhadohi, to feed his two sons.
Jaiswal practised, or played, in the day-time, and sold pani puri in the evening before sleeping in one of the groundsmen’s tents.
Jaiswal first hogged the limelight in 2015 when he scripted his name in the Limca Book of Records for scoring 319 not out and taking 13/99 in a Giles Shield match, an all-round record in school cricket. He was then selected in the Mumbai under-16 squad, followed by the India under-19s.
Jaiswal's stock kept growing and he was adjudged the player of the tournament at the 2018 ACC Under-19 Asia Cup, which India won. He continued to showcase his talent with the bat after that, be it in the Youth Test against South Africa or the tri-series in England.
It was in 2019 when he grabbed the attention of the national media. Jaiswal became the youngest cricketer to score a double century in a Vijay Hazare Trophy game, when he blasted 203 off 154 balls for Mumbai against Jharkhand.
The then 17-year-old was the third to achieve the feat but it was his temperament and immense talent that caught the eye. Jaiswal finished with 564 runs from six innings which included 25 sixes and 49 boundaries at an average of over 112.
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Jaiswal was subsequently roped into the squad for the U-19 World Cup, and the young batting prodigy has not let the opportunities go begging. He is currently the highest run-scorer in the mega event with 312 runs from five matches including three fifties and a big century against Pakistan. That knock has earned praise from all quarters, including from former greats like Ian Bishop and VVS Laxman.
The Mumbai boy is known to perform in pressure situations, and the pressure cannot get higher than a game against Pakistan - that too in the semifinals. Speaking about mental pressure in a candid chat, Jaiswal said he has faced pressure all his life.
“You are talking about mental pressure in cricket? I have faced it daily in my life for years. Those have made me strong. Scoring runs is not important. I know I will score and take wickets. For me, whether I get the next meal or not, that’s important,” Jaiswal said.
The bigger journey of Jaiswal begins now. While we have witnessed the likes of Virat Kohli and Prithvi Shaw come out of the U-19 team and make it big on the international scene, there are also cases like that of Unmukt Chand, who failed to hold onto the limelight.
After the U-19 World Cup final, where the whole of India will look towards the stylish left-handed batsman as he tries to help his country lift their fifth title, Jaiswal will join the likes of Steve Smith and Ben Stokes in the Rajasthan Royals camp to begin preparations for IPL 2020.
If Jaiswal can live up to the expectations in the IPL and subsequently for Mumbai in the domestic circuit, he will start knocking on the doors of the Indian team - especially since the side would lack a backup left-handed opener after Shikhar Dhawan.Published 05 Feb 2020, 13:07 IST