IPL 2020: Teenager Yashasvi Jaiswal’s focus on improving, not on price tag
IPL 2020: Billed as one for the future, 18-year-old Yashasvi Jaiswal can find adulation as he prepares to make his debut in IPL, which starts in the UAE on Saturday.Updated: Sep 18, 2020, 08:18 IST
Yashasvi Jaiswal remembers watching an IPL game between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings a few years ago at the Wankhede Stadium. For the first time, he watched Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma play under lights, and it has got embedded in his mind.
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The 18-year-old, billed as one for the future, can also find adulation as he prepares to make his debut in IPL, which starts in the UAE on Saturday.
In October, the India U-19 batsman, playing for Mumbai, became the youngest in the world to score a double century in List-A cricket. The left-handed batsman was bought by 2008 winners Rajasthan Royals, a team known to give youngsters a launch pad.
“It’s an away IPL and due to Covid it’s going to be a challenge. I’ve been preparing hard at the nets with seniors like Robin Uthappa and Sanju Samson. Playing with white ball under lights would be a different experience and I’m getting used to it. I’m excited to be part of the Rajasthan team in my first IPL. I have the chance to entertain people with my skills,” he said in a chat from Dubai.
RR bought the top-order batsman for ₹2.4 crore in the auctions after his fine efforts in India’s run to the final of the U-19 World Cup early this year.
“It would be great to play against Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Dhoni. We can only learn from such big cricketers and get inspired. It is a big deal for me,” said Jaiswal, who is from a humble background.
Hailing from Bhadohi village in Uttar Pradesh, Jaiswal moved to Mumbai as a 10-year-old chasing his cricket dream. The poor boy worked in a dairy, stayed in the tent of the Muslim United Club groundsmen at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan and sell pani puri for meagre income.
This didn’t stop him from scoring plenty of runs to come into the reckoning for the India junior team. At the U-19 World Cup where India lost in the final, he scored over 400 runs, including a match-winning century against Pakistan in the semi-finals.
Jaiswal recalled his early days in Mumbai. “It was tough to stay in tents and work hard to get access to even basic amenities. Luckily, I got help and guidance from my coach Jwala Singh sir through the difficult times. I have always been focussed on playing cricket and proving myself. The last few years have been very good; I’ve played for Mumbai and for India (in U-19 World Cup). It’s been an enriching experience to represent my country and play first-class cricket for Mumbai.”
With no matches involving Indian cricketers since March, IPL will be a great platform to make a mark. Jaiswal is keen not to be distracted by the handsome amount RR paid for him in the auctions.
“The price tag doesn’t really matter to me at this stage of my career. I just want to focus on playing, learn from my senior players, and develop my game and to take it to the next level. IPL is going to be watched by millions; getting a chance to play is amazing.”
The India U-19 team has been a tested route to success for many, including young batsmen Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw. “Lot of cricketers who played at U-19 level have gone on to play for India. Every youngster who plays cricket dreams of playing for India. It is a dream to represent India, but for now I’m just focussing on IPL, contributing and making a mark,” said the Tendulkar fan.