An India cap wasn't everything for the 21-year-old batting prodigy, but the only thing Yashasvi Jaiswal aspired for
Yashasvi Jaiswal (Pic: AFP)
The culmination of a journey Yashasvi Jaiswal had embarked on almost a decade ago, that's how his maiden call-up in the India Test side on Friday felt like, minutes after the BCCI announced the squad for the upcoming two-Test series in the West Indies.
Having left his home in Bhadohi, Uttar Pradesh, spending early teenage years at a tent at the Azad Maidan here and doing hard yards in Maximum City under his coach Jwala Singh, an India cap wasn't everything for the 21-year-old batting prodigy, but the only thing he aspired for.
It was never about how he would get there but when. On Friday afternoon the news came, and there was pure joy and elation in equal measure for the stylish southpaw.
The young batter told PTI in an exclusive interview that he was both nervous and excited over the possibility of his call-up to the India Test side, a dream that turned into reality after putting in splendid performances across formats in domestic cricket as well as in the IPL.
"My father started crying (when he got to know)," said Jaiswal, adding that he would head to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore perhaps in a couple of days to prepare for the West Indies tour.
Having returned recently to his home here, Jaiswal revealed he had a busy day on Friday, as he was out for a training session followed by a shoot -- which is when he got to learn about his India selection.
The 21-year-old Jaiswal, who lit up the IPL this year with sensational batting that followed dominating performances with the red ball in the domestic circuit, received his maiden call-up to the Indian Test team on Friday.
Jaiswal was among the reserve players for the World Test Championship final earlier this month and a call-up for the West Indies tour for two Tests was inevitable after proving himself across formats.
"I am feeling good, I will try to do my best. I am excited but at the same time I just want to go out and express myself," he added.
Jaiswal, who got the backing of Rajasthan Royals coach Kumar Sangakkara, teammates Trent Boult and Joe Root as well as India captain Rohit Sharma that he was ready for international cricket, said he was nervous till the time he saw his name in the squad announced by the BCCI.
"I was a little nervous, till the time you do not get to know that your name is there in the team, there are butterflies. But it is a good feeling.
"My preparations have been going good and I got to interact a lot with the senior players. The conversation has been very simple ¿ to focus on my work. I learned from them that in the end 'it is all about you, how you take it going forward'," said Jaiswal, adding that he has interacted a lot with Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane.
Jaiswal said he would not keep any batting position as preference while approaching the West Indies tour. "It depends on the situations in the match, how it goes and what is happening, we will have to see. I can only figure that out once we go there, cannot speak about it at this moment," he said.
The left-handed batter said India coach Rahul Dravid's message has been for him to keep doing things that work for him.
"It has just been about keeping my focus on the right things and keep doing what I have been doing all this while. I have to keep things simple and maintain discipline, these are very easy things to say but are really important (in application)," Jaiswal said.
"It was a good feeling to learn that I am now a part of the Indian team, but it is also a fact that I try to control myself (emotionally) as much as I can. I know that there are both good and bad sides of things, I try to keep myself stable on both these aspects," added Jaiswal, for whom being grounded is one of the qualities that stand out.
Jaiswal's coach Jwala Singh was an elated man too ¿ he had travelled to London on Friday having met the player in the morning, and got to know about his selection only upon landing in the UK.
"I picked him in 2013 from the Azad Maidan with the single mission of making him an India cricketer, which was my dream, but I could not accomplish it despite all my hard work. I really feel proud of myself, for what I embarked to do 10 years ago, it came to fruition today," Jwala said.
"I told him that we would work really hard for 10 years, and after 10 years he made it to the Indian team," he said.
Jwala said he is confident that Jaiswal will make his much-anticipated Test debut in the Caribbean. "We knew that he was not going to get game-time in the WTC final in the playing XI ¿ he was a part of the standbys and all other players were available.
"Hence, we did not discuss much about it. But I am confident that he will get a chance in the playing XI this time (in the West Indies)," Jwala said.
The Mumbai-based coach said IPL was the final hurdle for Jaiswal to cross, as he had made a strong mark in domestic cricket as well with the red ball. "IPL has made it possible for the current batch of players to migrate to international cricket successfully without feeling the pressure of the occasion and the stage," Jwala said.
"IPL is as good as international cricket. The bowlers you face there, in that environment and situation, playing in front of 50-60,000 people and you perform, it is also an opportunity for selectors to understand a player. It is not about red ball or white ball, it is about who the match-winner is," Jwala said.
"If someone is winning matches for you with the bat against international bowlers, then there must be something about that player and his skills. In the case of Jaiswal, he had presented a strong case for himself with runs in Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy as well as Irani Cup. IPL was just a final hurdle."
Jwala also shared his mantra for Jaiswal which has worked wonders for the player-coach duo. "I have always told him that a lot of players do the hard work, but not everyone is able to focus, they lose it after a point in time. I tell him, there are four formulas for success - skill, will, fitness and smartness. He has never compromised with the game," he added.
(With PTI inputs)