Yashasvi Jaiswal: From making rotis for food vendors to cricket sensation
The best batsman for India in the U-19 Asia Cup Yashaswi Jaiswal, had real life struggles in Mumbai as a 11-year old to live his cricketing dream
Yashasvi Jaiswal was one of the most crucial performers for the Indian cricket team, as he scored a brilliant 85 off 113 balls, as they defeated Sri Lanka to clinch the U-19 Asia Cup title in Dhaka on Sunday. This was just the latest in a string of impressive performances by Jaiswal as he ended the tournament with 318 runs at an average of 79.50.
However, not many people know that just three years ago, the situation was completely different for the youngster from Bhadohi. When he came to Mumbai in 2012, he was just 11 years old and had nowhere to live in the city. With cricket taking up most of his time, he was thrown out of a dairy shop where he used to sleep and was given refuge by the grounds-men at the Muslim United Club’s tent at the Azad Maidan ground.
The situation did not improve much for Jaiswal as he continued to live there and although he continued playing cricket, money was becoming a big factor. He used to help out a food vendor and at the tent, he was given lunch and dinner but his job in the kitchen was to make rotis for the staff. He also used to sell pani puris for a living.
“I just wanted to play cricket and I want to play for Mumbai. I used to stay in a tent and there was no electricity, washrooms or water facilities there. To make ends meet, I started working with a food vendor. On occasions, my teammates would turn up and I’d serve them. I felt terrible. But it took that in my stride as it was necessary,” Jaiswal told ESPNCricinfo in an interview.
However, everything changed when coach Jwala Singh spotted the left-hander in the nets. The youngster was on the verge of leaving the sport due to a lack of opportunities, but Jwala Singh decided to take him under his wing.
“He was 11-12 years old when I first saw him bat. I was immediately impressed by his performance and he was playing against Division A bowlers with ease. Then my friend told me that he was struggling to find a home and he didn’t have a coach here,” Jwala Singh said.
Almost like a second father, Jwala Singh was also given the power of attorney by Yashasvi's parents where they made him his guardian and also the man responsible for all the decisions. Soon, the southpaw was announced in the Mumbai U-16 squad before making it to the India U-19 team. This, though, is only the beginning and Singh - who has also coached Prithvi Shaw - says he wants to see his pupil play for India.
Yashasvi Jaiswal soon found himself in the Limca Book of Records after scoring an unbeaten 319 and registering bowling figures of 13/99 - a record for most runs and wickets in a school cricket match. Soon, the youngster was announced in the Mumbai U-16 squad before making it to the India U-19 team. With the Asia Cup producing such great results for Jaiswal, coach Jwala Singh is confident that his pupil will surely play for India one day.
“In the last three years, he has made 51 centuries and has taken 200 wickets. He’s got a habit of making big scores. If he carries on playing like this in big tournaments, I’m very sure he will play for India.”
The U-19 Asia Cup triumph is a stepping stone for the teenager as her has already shown that he has grit and determination to beat the odds in real life. Now, only time will tell if Yashasvi Jaiswal can keep performing at the highest level and make his way in to the Indian senior cricket team.
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