India’s Under-19 cricket team has been receiving much praise after it entered the finals of the ongoing ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup and especially opener-batsman Yashasvi Jaiswal has hit the headlines after his ton in the semi-finals against Pakistan on Tuesday (4 February).
Jaiswal scored a century (105 not out) as he and opening partner Divyaansh Saxena (59 not out) helped India chase down a target of 173 without losing a wicket after the bowlers dismissed Pakistan for a paltry 172.
“It is a dream come true for me. Really happy with what I did for my country, I can't express it in words. I'll never forget that I scored a hundred in the World Cup against Pakistan,” Jaiswal said after the match.
“It is just the start though, I have to work really hard in the future as well,” he uttered. He is also the current leading run-scorer of the tournament.
Jaiswal first shot to fame after his performance in domestic Vijay Hazare trophy late last year. In the tournament, he had become the youngest player to score a double century in 50-over cricket.
Belonging to a very humble family in Uttar Pradesh’s Bhadohi, Jaiswal has in past sold paani-puri, worked at a milk dairy among other part-time jobs to survive after he moved to Mumbai for his training.
“Finding a place to stay was the hard part. I used to sleep in a dairy in Kalbadevi but they asked me to move out as I couldn’t help them much with the daily work. My parents requested my uncle to help me. I stayed at his place for a few days but it wasn’t big enough so he too had to ask me to find a different place,” Yashasvi had recalled in an interview with Hindustan Times before proceeding to South Africa for the U-19 World Cup.
However, he credited his uncle for referring him to the Muslim United Club, that had setup tents for homeless people. As he stayed there for three years, he said he struggled with money to survive. “I was staying in a tent alright but I had no money to buy food. So I started selling paani-puri during Ram Leela. I also did scoring, became a ball boy even when I was not asked to. Basically, I did everything through which I could earn money,” Yashasvi said.
In 2013, Jaiswal was noticed by by Jwala Singh, a former Junior Mumbai cricketer and now a coach, who liked his strokeplay on a damp pitch against ‘A division’ fast bowlers.
Singh, who found Yashasvi’s story similar to his, offered to coach him and asked him to stay at his own place. Since then, Yashasvi has been living with Singh as his family member, along with training with him.
Speaking to news agency ANI, his father Bhupendra Jaiswal said, “We were watching the match and were feeling great. My son plays really well under pressure. He assured us that he will play his best.”
The young cricketer has been lauded by various veterans like Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman, Shaoib Akhtar, Mohammad Kaif on social media.
Business tycoon Anand Mahindra too took to Twitter to appreciate Jaiswal’s journey.
The former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar reserved rich praise for Jaiswal, who has battled all odds to make his way into the Indian set-up and is now one of the rising stars in the country.
“India's boy Jaiswal, he left his village to come to Mumbai and used to sleep in milk dairies. He has scored two centuries in U19 cricket. Jaiswal used to sell pani-puri in the morning. He sold pani puris to his teammates to have food on his plate.
“Imagine this kind of a guy, who will be street smart and will fight for his place. Rajasthan Royals bought Jaiswal and remember my words that Jaiswal is going to go places. He has the power, passion and interest for the game. He will represent the senior team, this is a guarantee. Saxena also played well.
“Pakistan players need to learn from Jaiswal's history. He is running behind excellence and money is running behind him now,” the former Pakistan pacer added.
(With inputs from IANS)
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