Defying all odds, 17-year-old all-rounder Yashasvi Jaiswal made the cut for India’s Under-19 World Cup squad. He, who spent days in a tent and sold panipuri to make ends meet, will now be showcasing his talent in South Africa.
Coming from a humble background he had to face many difficulties in his cricket journey, the youngster proved his talent and became the youngest cricketer in the world to score a List A double century.
"Initially I stayed with my uncle at his place and started playing but due to space constraint my uncle arranged my stay at Dairy in South Mumbai near my ground on condition that I had to work for dairy in lieu of my stay there," Jaiswal told ANI.
His father runs a hardware shop in Uttar Pradesh's Bhadohi and Yashasvi was keen to play cricket since childhood. So, the father took him to Mumbai and his journey towards cricket at highest level began.
"Soon, I was evicted from there as I could not work due to my busy practice schedule. Then a coach helped me for few months by allowing me to stay at his place. But soon there were problems too. I played a good knock in a match for a club which allowed me to stay at their tent in the Azad Maidan ground itself," Jaiswal said.
"It was a shelter for me but that was also very difficult for me as there were no toilet facilities and also it was very difficult during the changing weather to spend time in a tent. For making arrangements of my daily diet and other expenses, I had to work at a pani puri stall which not only supported me financially but I got to eat something also there at that stall," he added.
Yashasvi was spotted by a coach named Jwala Singh, who not only offered him full support but took him to his home and started coaching. Since last six years, Yashasvi is with Singh. The coach was himself a cricket aspirant in mid-90's but could not make it big due to lack of opportunities and some injuries.
"I saw my own story of hardships in his story when he narrated that to me and I thought I should support him and yes he has a different and unique talent. He can be a good all-rounder for his team. He is a left-handed batsman but a right-arm spinner and this is his natural instinct," Singh said.
"Yashasvi seeks inspiration from Sachin Tendulkar and Wasim Jaffer. According to Yashasvi, Jaffer gives him some useful tips time to time which improved his batting technique. He wants to play at the highest level for India but also adds that he wants to play his best cricket in coming U-19 World Cup starting next month," he added.
The 13th edition of the World Cup will be played amongst 16 teams, split into four groups. India are placed in Group A with first-time qualifier Japan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. The top two teams from each group will then qualify for the Super League stage.
India will play their first game in the World Cup against Sri Lanka at Bloemfontein in South Africa on January 19, 2020.
India U-19 squad for World Cup: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, Divyaansh Saxena, Priyam Garg (Captain), Dhruv Chand Jurel (vice-captain & wicket-keeper), Shashwat Rawat, Divyansh Joshi, Shubhang Hegde, Ravi Bishnoi, Akash Singh, Kartik Tyagi, Atharva Ankolekar, Kumar Kushagra (wicket-keeper), Sushant Mishra, Vidyadhar Patil.