(This article was first published on 25 July 2018. It has been re-posted from The Quint's archives after Yashasvi Jaiswal scored an IPL century against Mumbai Indians on 30 April, 2023.)
Yashasvi Jaiswal’s 203 for Mumbai against Jharkhand on Wednesday, 16 October, not only helped his team win the Vijay Hazare Trophy match, it also made him a little part of history.
At 17 years and 192 days, Jaiswal became the youngest Indian cricketer to score a double hundred in List A cricket.
However, the youngster’s feats on the field are as interesting as his journey to the top rungs of India’s domestic cricket.
Jaiswal hails from Bahodi in Uttar Pradesh. Being a son of a shopkeeper, the financial conditions of his family were not conducive for survival, let alone pursuing cricket as a career. Jaiswal was a talented player since the beginning, which did not go unnoticed by his seniors who encouraged him to not waste his talent in a small town and to move to a higher opportunities platform like Mumbai.
Jaiswal reached Mumbai with his father but stayed back with his uncle who accommodated him for a month. But due to lack of space, Jaiswal had to shift to a dairy where he could work as well as reside.
His stay and routine at the dairy didn’t allow him to focus on his game. Waking up every morning at 5, he used to go out for practice and come back late in the afternoon. When he failed to attend to the shop regularly, the shopkeeper kicked him out.
Being kicked out of the shop, the first thing he did was reach Azad Maidan. He met Imran sir, as he calls him, who assured him of shelter in a tent if he performed well in a cricket match.
The Muslim United tent in Azad Maidan was his home for three years, where he stayed with gardeners. Although it was easier for him to reach the ground for practice, the stay at the tent was difficult for many reasons. The gardeners did not treat him well and forced him to cook food. There was no restroom, no assistance and not a single person with whom he could share his plight.
“I remember selling pani puri at night for a few extra bucks and sometimes to fill my stomach,” remembers Yashasvi.
He did not even reveal the struggles he faced with his family back in Uttar Pradesh.
Alone and tired, Jaiswal decided to quit and go back until he met the right coach. “I asked him about his residence to which he replied that I stay wherever I find a place, which shocked me”, says Jwala Singh, who saw little Jaiswal playing extraordinarily on the field when he was out on a selection tour.
From that day till today, Jwala Singh has been Jaiswal’s support system.
The reason Singh trained him with such dedication was the resemblance in their backgrounds and struggles, that even Singh faced when he came to Mumbai.
Jaiswal will now be playing with India U-19 team for the Sri Lanka tour.
Camera: Sanjoy Deb
Production Assistant: Gautam Sharma