Full name: Yashasvi Bhupendra Kumar Jaiswal
Born: December 28, 2001, Suriya, Uttar Pradesh
Current age: 18 years
Role: Opening batsman
Batting style: Left-hand bat
Bowling style: Leg-break
Major teams: India Under-19s, India Under-23s, Mumbai, Rajasthan Royals
We have access to the best coaching facilities, own big cars, live in air-conditioned houses but still have things to complain about. If we/our kids don’t get picked to play at the state/national level, we get upset. The story of Yashasvi Jaiswal is a lesson on the level of persistence & hard work that is required to achieve your dreams. The journey is not easy, but it is important to keep your focus, fight against all odds and then keep the hope that your hard work will be noticed. Of course, luck plays a big part, but I strongly believe that luck is a by-product of hard work.
“You are talking about mental pressure in cricket? I have faced it daily in my life for years. Those have made me strong. Scoring runs is not important. I know I will score and take wickets. For me, whether I get the next meal or not, that’s important,”
Yashasvi Jaiswal says when asked about pressures of higher-grade cricket.
This is an inspiring story of Yashasvi Jaiswal who never gave up, no matter the situation. In conditions where one cannot imagine survival, this boy made it to the India U-19 cricket team just by his sheer grit, determination & never-say-die attitude. These are exactly the qualities that we want to see in our Indian cricketers.
Presenting below, the story of young Yashasvi Jaiswal – his journey from the street to representing India in the U-19 WC. He still says there is a long way to go!
He had a clear goal:
He was born and brought up in a small town called Suriyawan in Uttar Pradesh. His father, Bhupendra Jaiswal, owns a small hardware store. As there was no opportunity in the small town, at the age of 10, Yashasvi had a clear vision that he wanted to become an Indian cricketer, hence, planned to move to Mumbai. Luckily, his family supported his decision but couldn’t help him when he moved.
(Yashasvi’s parents. Image credit: newindianexpress.com)
He has an uncle in Mumbai but since his house was too small to accommodate one more person, he got Yashasvi a job at a dairy, where he used to work and sleep at night. All he did the whole day, was play cricket. As a result, he felt tired and sleepy and couldn’t work. The dairy owner threw him out and he was left fending for himself, with no place to eat or sleep.
Not many of us had a vision when we were 10 yrs. old and definitely did not have the guts to move to a big city without any place to stay. Most people would have given up in the state Yashasvi found himself– no food to eat & no place to stay. That thought of giving up did not even cross his mind.
His uncle helped him find a place to stay with the groundsmen in the Muslim United Club at the Azad Maidan in Mumbai. The place was a ‘tent’, where he stayed for 3 years. This proved to be a great opportunity as he started playing more cricket as he was staying right at the ground!
Earning money wasn’t easy:
There was no source of income and he did not talk about his difficulties with his parents, as it would worry them. The groundsmen used to cook in a tent and some days when there was no food, he used to sleep on an empty stomach. He jokes about this situation saying, “every day used to be candlelight dinner, as there was no electricity”. Talk about looking for positives in the worst of the situations!
During Ram-Leela, he sold pani-puris and fruits to make money. He prayed to God that his teammates should not come to the stall. When they did come sometimes, it embarrassed him to no extent. Another way to make money was to place bets and win during games (you get me out or I get you out).
Some days, when he had no money to buy breakfast or lunch, he would shamelessly tell his friends “paisa nahi hai, bhook hai” and would request them to buy food. Breakfast was almost non- existent on most days. It was very normal for his teammates to tease him occasionally but Yashasvi never reacted in anger. He realized that his friends have never experienced the pain for them to understand, hence, there was no point reacting.
Nights were long and tough:
Days used to pass by, playing cricket & looking for work, but nights were really tough. Sleeping in a tent in summer under the plastic sheet was unbearable. He tried to find a way and slept in the open until one night, he got bitten by an insect near his eyes. After that, no matter the heat, he used to sleep in the tent.
Another big issue was that the public toilets were closed at night and he couldn’t sleep most nights.
Finally, lady luck smiled and he got noticed:
Life was going on the hard way when a local coach by the name Jwala Singh spotted Jaiswal facing an ‘A’ division bowler with ease when everyone else was struggling. Jwala had also come to Mumbai from UP, with no support or shelter and could immediately understand what Yashasvi was going through. He saw potential in him, hence, promised to support him. He was the one who gave him a place to stay, coached him in his academy and is now Yashasvi’s local guardian too. Jwala encouraged him to take part in competitions and that is how his journey began.
(Yashasvi with coach Jwala Singh. Image credit: newindiaexpress.com)
He shot to the limelight when he scored 319* and took 13 wickets in a Harris shield school level tournament. This is a record and his name figures in “Limca book of world records”.
He soon got selected for the Mumbai U-16 team and then for the U-19 Indian team for the World cup!
(Image credit: dnaindia.com)
‘Player of the Tournament’ in the 2018 ACC under-19 Asia cup that India won.
Youngest to score a double century in List – A cricket.
(Image credit: sports.ndtv.com)
Highest run-scorer in the U-19 World cup and scored a century against Pakistan in the semi-final.
He is part of the Rajasthan Royals squad in IPL 2020 and the way he greeted MS Dhoni with a namaste went viral on social media. It just touched hearts and we all felt part of it.
The experience of being around great players like Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer etc. will do him good!
(Yashasvi greeting Dhoni. Image credit: hindustantimes.com)
His strength is the ability to read a bowler’s mind and adapt to the situation. He knows when to build an inning's and when to play his shots. He has the technique & shots, but his biggest strength is his attitude and determination. He says his life is within those 22 yards and he will do everything possible to reach his goal of playing for India.
Yashasvi has learnt a lot from his tough life and that has only made him tougher. Thankfully, now, he will not have to sell pani puris to fill his stomach and can focus on working hard to fulfil his dreams that he built when he was 10 years old!