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James Wallace explores the impressive story of young cricketer Yashasvi Jaiswal, highlighting the dynamic and resilient nature of India's emerging generation.
Cricket Sport

James Wallace explores the impressive story of young cricketer Yashasvi Jaiswal, highlighting the dynamic and resilient nature of India’s emerging generation.


You may have already heard about Yashasvi Jaiswal’s journey, the 22-year-old Indian cricketer who recently scored 712 runs in a series. This is the highest score ever achieved by an Indian against an English cricket team in Test history. Despite this, it is a story worth retelling. Jaiswal was just a small and reserved 10-year-old when he left his hometown in Bhadohi, eastern Uttar Pradesh, and travelled 1,000 miles to Mumbai with his father. He was chasing what seemed like an impossible dream – to become a professional cricketer in a country of 1.4 billion people where the sport is treated with almost religious reverence.

After being left behind by his father and staying with his uncle in Mumbai, young Jaiswal eventually ventured out on his own to work in a dairy shop. However, he was able to discover a chance to reside in a tent for groundskeepers in the well-known Azad Maidan area of the city. During this time, he sustained himself on a diet consisting mainly of glucose biscuits and occasional free meals, while dedicating himself fully to his love for cricket. Devoting countless hours to practicing and playing matches, Jaiswal refined his batting skills with unwavering determination. β€œI have been on my own for quite some time now,” Jaiswal shared with the Hindustan Times last year. β€œIt was difficult when my father first left, but I gradually adapted and kept myself occupied.”

Jaiswal spent a few years living in a tent on the Maidan, where he would play cricket all day and sometimes make a few rupees by assisting food vendors with their pani-puri. It was during this time that he caught the eye of cricket coach Jwala Singh, who became his guardian and helped him achieve his dream through hard work and dedication.

During the initial, solitary days, Jaiswal would stand outside his tent and gaze towards the bright floodlights of Wankhede Stadium illuminating the Mumbai night sky. On April 30th of last year, Jaiswal finally lived out his aspirations as he scored his first century in the IPL, hitting 124 runs off 62 balls for Rajasthan Royals against Mumbai Indians. While still on the field, he took a moment to appreciate his journey and accomplishments, later sharing that he pictured his younger self standing and observing the lights.

Jaiswal stated that his unique journey will remain in his thoughts, providing him with a sense of assurance and determination to face any challenges that may arise.

Yashasvi Jaiswal has been a composed presence at the crease for India.

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Jaiswal was prepared for the English team. He became occupied. His double centuries at Visakhapatnam and Rajkot erased any false beliefs the England team may have had after their initial victory in Hyderabad, led by Ollie Pope’s score of 196. Pope’s remarkable performance has already been recognized as one of the best centuries scored by an English player on overseas grounds; in reality, England would have needed a consistently exceptional and unlikely effort, similar to Pope’s masterclass, to keep up with India’s dominant performance in every aspect of the game.

The defeat of England here will surely be a topic of much discussion. The analysis has already begun, even though the team’s remains have not yet been returned home. There will be speculations and recommendations, ranging from minor mindset tweaks to major changes in personnel. These ideas will likely be discussed before the first Test match against West Indies in July. However, amidst all of this, we must not forget to acknowledge the incredible skill and dominance of the Indian team, who have been unbeaten in their last 17 series at home.

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Rohit Sharma’s team is well-prepared and has solid coverage in all areas. Even without Virat Kohli, there are young batting talents ready to step up. The wicketkeeper may be injured, but a 23-year-old with exceptional gloves and a composed mindset is ready to take his place. As for spin on the pitches, there is no need to worry as the team has skilled players in that area, including Kuldeep Yadav who just set a record as the fastest Indian bowler to reach 50 Test wickets. And if a change of pace is needed, there is always Jasprit Bumrah.

India dominates the world of sports outside the arena and sets the standard for it. How is this possible? While Jaiswal’s remarkable story is often mentioned, he is not the only one achieving such success. Countless other children with slim chances of success are also defying the odds and will continue to do so. At this very moment, they are out there, covered in red clay from the Maidan, with the distant shine of floodlights in their determined eyes. They are getting ready for when their opportunity arises.

Source: theguardian.com