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How U-19 star Yashasvi Jaiswal’s coach pushed him to score a century

Yashasvi was getting starts yet was not converting those into big runs. But the semifinal against Pakistan changed that.

Written by Devendra Pandey | Mumbai |
Updated: February 5, 2020 8:43:08 am
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In late night conversations that the young centurion Yashasvi Jaiswal often had with his local coach Jwala Singh, the boy would pick his brains on what he needed to do differently and if he saw any technical flaws in his batting. Singh always offered diplomatically: “Just enjoy your game.”

But deep down, Jwala wasn’t too happy. Yashasvi was getting starts but not converting those into big runs. He had made it to the India U19 team on the back of a double hundred for Mumbai seniors in a List A tournament. But in the ongoing World Cup, twice in four innings he walked back after getting those familiar starts while two other times he remained unbeaten. Jwala insisted the world hadn’t seen Yashasvi’s real game yet.

Read | Yashaswi Jaiswal: ‘A star is born indeed’

On Tuesday, against Pakistan, Yashasvi batted with composure to make an unbeaten 105 off 113 balls. His opening partner Divyaansh Saxena (59 not out off 99) was solid at the other end. The opening stand was worth 176 and India won by 10 wickets in 43.1 overs. Jaiswal also made a crucial breakthrough with the ball when he dismissed Pakistan opener Haider Ali to break the third wicket partnership.

Yashasvi Jaiswal, ind u19 vs pak u19, india u19 vs pakistan u19, india u19 vs pakistan u19 match, india vs pakistan u19 world cup 2020, india vs pakistan cricket, india vs pakistan u19 world cup, india vs pakistan u19 scores, india vs pakistan u19 result, india vs pakistan 19 cricket match Yashasvi Jaiswal and Divyansh Saxena put on a 176-run stand in the chase of Pakistan’s 172 in the U19 World Cup semifinal. (Twitter/CricketWorldCup)

For a student who maintained a high standard for himself, a big hundred was needed to please his coach. When it comes against arch-rivals Pakistan in a knock-out match of a World Cup, it becomes even more special. “He (Yashasvi) got selected for the India U 19 World Cup and asked me if I was happy. I said you are playing for India U 19s for the past one year now, so there is no reason to get excited. Just be calm. U 19 WC comes every two years and in those two years we see new talent come and go,” Jwala said.

Read | Lived in a tent, sold pani puri, slept hungry, now plays cricket for India Under-19

The seasoned coach has seen stars being made and broken from close quarters. In fact, he too had been a promising bowler who went to the MRF pace foundation in Chennai, but never reached the heights he aspired to.

In those conversations following the batting drills, Yashasvi always received a heavy dose of wisdom by the end of the day where Jwala threw some hard realities of life at him. Having come up the hard way, Yashasvi too understood the importance of long-term goals. It’s here that Jwala saw merit in introducing Yashasvi to former India opener Wasim Jaffer, the marathon man of domestic cricket. Jaffer too advised Yashasvi that the key to bigger innings was to stay at the crease for long periods. “I told him exactly how many players went on to play for India and within that how many players lasted for 10 years. I told him those will be few in number. Playing for India for one or two matches has no meaning. He should be there for the long run,” Jaffer recalls.

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Jwala also acutely felt that by now Yashasvi ought to have struck his own terror into the hearts of bowlers, like Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli did. “Bowlers should fear bowling to you, aisa batsman banna zaroori hai (you should be such a batsman). It will happen, the process is on. I still feel people haven’t seen his best,” he points out.

For a boy who sold pani-puri at Azad Maidan and lived in tents, life has always thrown challenges at him but one thing which Yashasvi has maintained is his discipline and ethics towards the game. He was invited by his Dadar Union Club for a felicitation recently where he reached late as he had a session pending at the gym. On the day of the IPL auctions Yashasvi was batting in the nets. While boarding the flight to South Africa, Yashasvi Jaiswal had a request for his coach: “Don’t come to South Africa or I will get nervous.”

Singh knew where this anxiety stemmed from but his coach had his own plans. On the eve of the semi-finals, Jwala was in the stands. He would meet Yashasvi and then quietly fly back soon after.

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