Ask any Indian about which sport do they think is the most popular in India- the answer will undoubtedly be cricket. Indians live and breathe cricket. New players who donned the Indian national team’s cap are scrutinized to hell.
Every year many players come and go. There are even less who even manage to make a little mark. Few hold the capacity to be the next M.S Dhoni or Virat Kohli and take the Indian cricket team to new heights.
But it looks like the Indian cricket team has a new hope in the form of Yashasvi Jaiswal. He has been touted to be the next big thing in Indian cricket. The reason for this has been his headline-making batting performances.
Jaiswal’s journey has been a classic rag to riches story. He went from staying in a tent at the Azad Maidan to scoring a blistering century in the ICC U19 World Cup 2020 semifinal. But his story isn’t over yet, in fact it is only beginning. After all the recently landed a spot in the Rajasthan Royals camp.
Jaiswal’s journey is one of courage and will power. He was born in Uttar Pradesh and came to Mumbai when he was just 11 years old. But he couldn’t concentrate on cricket fully. He had to work hard to feed himself and his family.
His father’s earnings from his shop in Bhadohi wasn’t enough to feed his two sons. But Jaiswal wasn’t going to let his economic condition be a barrier when it came to his dreams. So he practiced during the day and sold pani puri in the evening. At night he slept in one of the groundsmen’s tents.
Jaiswal’s Rise To Fame
Fame wasn’t far away for him. He first grabbed the spotlight in 2015 when he scored 319 not out and took 13 wickets for just 99 runs in a Giles Shield match. This proved to be a record in school cricket. But that’s not the only place where he put his name.
Due to this extraordinary performance he made a place for himself in the Limca Book of Records. This paved the way for him in the Mumbai under-16 squad. He was also the player of the tournament at the 2018 ACC Under-19 Asia Cup, which was in fact won by India.
He never stopped improving his batting skills against bigger and better opponents. Gradually he grabbed national attention in the Tri-series against England and in the Youth Test against South Africa.
Jaiswal then became the youngest cricketer to score a double century in a Vijay Hazare Trophy game. His score? He made 203 off 154 balls for Mumbai against Jharkhand.
He was only 17 then and just the third cricketer to achieve this honor. He actually didn’t stop at just 203 in the match. He finished with 564 runs from six innings. In this bag were 25 sixes and 49 boundaries. He averaged at over 112. As a result very soon in the Indian under-19s squad came calling.
Famed Hundred Against Pakistan
He first came into mainstream notice after his unbeaten knock of 105 runs against Pakistan to secure victory for his side with 10 wickets intact. Of course since the rivals here were Pakistan so his knock was even more hyped up. But it wasn’t just any simple knock, although an unbeaten 105 runs are impressive in itself. Jaiswal’s knock took his side to the finals of the ICC U19 World Cup 2020 for the third time in the row.
Jaiswal has worked his magic throughout the U-19 tournament and not just in the one semifinal game against Pakistan. He has scored more than 300 runs in the world event and has been praised by many cricketing greats. Among his supporters are former bests like VVS Laxman and Ian Bishop.
Jaiswal’s Struggles And Pressure Performance
Jaiswal is also famous for performing under pressure and there’s no greater pressure than performing against Pakistan in a world cup semifinal. Speaking about pressure, Jaiswal said:
“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.”
Now that he is playing in the big leagues, money soon won’t be a problem for him and his family. But the big test for Jaiswal in his cricketing career begins from now.
He will have to live up to the expectations from him in the IPL and also perform for Mumbai in the domestic circuit. If he is able to perform consistently then he could get drafted into the coveted Indian team.