Video Editor: Kunal Mehra
Video Journalist: Abhishek Ranjan
Life has come full circle for young cricketer Yashasvi Jaiswal. From selling panipuris in Mumbai to sleeping in tents, Yashasvi was adjudged Player of the Tournament in the recently concluded ICC U-19 World Cup in South Africa.
“It is a great feeling. It was a great moment for me when I got my Man of the Tournament award. But it would have been better if we would have won the World Cup.”Yashasvi Jaiswal
Despite the loss, Yashasvi understands the challenges in the life of a budding cricketer and is gracious in his defeat. In fact, the Mumbai cricketer realises the importance of such an exposure and the experience of playing at the big stage.
“It was difficult feeling for me, for everyone. But it is a game. It will happen – ups and down. It is a roller coaster. It will come in my life so many times and I have to be prepared for that.”Yashasvi Jaiswal
One of the reasons for Yashasvi’s humility and maturity at such young age would be his real-life struggles. It is his story of rags to riches that has taught him all the valuable lessons in life.
But, instead of criticising his past life, Yashasvi believes that those experiences has been useful in building his career.
“Both the struggles (on-field & off-field) were challenging. When I used to stay in tents it was very difficult, but I was enjoying the whole experience.”Yashasvi Jaiswal
“And now in the World Cup I had to face the challenges that I had to perform in all the matches and what I can do for my team. That was very important me that what I can do for my team to win matches,” said Yashasvi.
Known as attacking batsman right at the top of the batting order, Yashasvi tweaked his batting approach for the World Cup.
“There was a responsibility on me that as an opener I needed to save my wicket and also needed to understand how the wicket was behaving.”Yashasvi Jaiswal
“Initially, it wasn’t easy to go and play shots. If we lose one or two wickets (at the start) the team would be in trouble. So, our coach told me that I should preserve my wicket and try to play as long as I can,” said the young cricketer.
And the advice worked wonders for Yashasvi, who scored 400 runs from 6 innings in the World Cup at a staggering average of 133.33. In the process, he scored 4 fifties and a crucial century against arch-rival Pakistan in the semi-finals.
In fact, according to Yashasvi it was his dream to score big against Pakistan.
“Every century is really important, but I always wanted to get a century against Pakistan. It was always my dream to make runs against them (Pakistan).”Yashasvi Jaiswal
With the World Cup now over, Yashasvi’s focus will now shift to the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League, where he has been picked by Rajasthan Royals at a premium of Rs 2.4 crore.
“I am really happy and it is one best things to have happened to me. I am really excited to play for Rajasthan Royals and I really want to go and learn some new things,” Yashasvi said.
“It is a good team. They always give youngsters chance to play in the IPL. It is really nice for me to be in the Rajasthan family. I want to play for Rajasthan Royals.”Yashasvi Jaiswal
One of the biggest reasons for his excitement is the fact that Yashasvi would be sharing the Rajasthan dressing room with his cricketing heroes.
“I can learn lot from the international stars. I am going to meet Steve Smith and Ben Stokes. I will try my best to learn new things from them and share their experience with me.”Yashasvi Jaiswal
Apart from the duo of Smith and Stokes, Yashasvi is also excited to meet England’s Jos Buttler, who is also an opener like the Mumbai lad.
“I want to learn how to deal with pressure situation. I want to learn things from Jos Buttler. He is an opener and I want to play with him,” explained Yashasvi.
“I want to open with Buttler and expect to have a good chat during the time time we spend on the 22 yards.”Yashasvi Jaiswal
But despite all this, Yashasvi’s biggest incentive for playing for Rajasthan Royals would be meeting Australia’s Steve Smith.
“ I think it is Steve Smith. I want to meet him and get to know what thinks about the game. I want to learn from him,” said an excited Yashasvi.
At this moment, despite all the success, Yashasvi is taking one-step at a time and believes that a good IPL outing will open the floodgates for him.
“At this moment, I want to give my 100 percent whenever and wherever I get an opportunity. At this moment I have the biggest opportunity in the form of IPL. When I will get my chance I will do my best and give my 100 percent,” concluded the young cricketer.
(This story was first published on 2 March and has been republished from The Quint’s archives ahead of IPL 2020.)