One of the newcomers to the India under-19 squad bound for Sri Lanka had the rare privilege of an audience with Sachin Tendulkar on Saturday. Yashasvi Jaiswal, who slept in tents and even sold pani-puris in Mumbai ended up at the Master’s residence on special invitation to receive not just a signed bat but a mini crash course on batting from the legend himself.
Tendulkar’s son Arjun, Jaiswal’s teammate and fellow debutant in the under-19 squad, had informed him about his father wanting to meet the left-hander after reading about his struggles in The Indian Express.
“Arjun asked me to go home because he said ‘Papa wants to meet you personally. You go by yourself’. So I went like he’d asked me to,” Jaiswal told this paper before not surprisingly adding, “I became very nervous when I saw him.”
The nerves though were short-lived when Tendulkar is learnt to have told the 17-year-old that he could ask him whatever questions he had in mind about cricket. Jaiswal admitted to have prepared a set of queries too for his high-profile meeting. He revealed that once the early awkwardness was dealt with and the conversation turned to cricket, it was smooth sailing with his celebrity host doing most of the talking.
“I asked him about how to control your emotions while dealiang with the pressure of a big match. Sir told me you should not think about the result but just enjoy the pressure,” said Jaiswal. Tendulkar also had another advisory gem to share with the youngster.
“He told me, ‘As much as possible, once you’ve faced a ball keep looking at the bowler. Every bowler gives a clue of what he’s about to bowl, and understand those clues. Your job is to keep looking at him till the time he walks back to the mark. It’ll improve your focus and will stop you from
thinking about unnecessary things’,” Jaiswal revealed.
The youngster, by now emboldened by the openness in the conversation, then asked Tendulkar for some specific technical advice, regarding a mode of dismissal that was becoming repetitive and therefore a concern.
“I told him that I got out thrice while playing the cover-drive. He asked me to get into the nets and practice more. He told me to try and play even the spinners along the ground during practice. Against the pacers, the first focus of a batsman, he said, should be on stretching your front foot forward and playing a defensive stroke. Then only if it’s necessary should you go through with the cover-drive,” said Jaiswal.
Tendulkar also inevitably is learnt to have deduced exactly the reason why Jaiswal was getting out the same way.
“You must not have brought your front foot out completely and that meant you were playing the cover-drive to balls which were slightly wider than the ones you should play’,” the most successful batsman in history is learnt to have told the newbie. An awestruck Jaiswal said he simply nodded
Jaiswal understandably gushes with excitement while narrating in detail each moment that he experienced in the Tendulkar household with the man himself playing a doting host. But there is a small regret though. “Oh, I didn’t take a picture with him. I walked out while talking to him,” he exclaimed.