Thursday, June 20, 2024

‘Superstar’ Jaiswal: From being homeless to Test hero

Yashasvi Jaiswa

VISHAKAPATNAM, February 3: From being homeless and selling snacks on the streets to finance his cricketing ambitions, opener Yashasvi Jaiswal has now become the toast of India with a Test double century against England.
The 22-year-old turned an overnight 179 into his first double ton with 209 on Saturday in the second match of the high-profile series.
Jaiswal, an attacking left-hand batsman, burst into the consciousness of his cricket-mad country with a stellar showing in the Indian Premier League.
He was snapped up by Rajasthan Royals in the 2019 IPL auction and last season made one half of a fearsome opening pair with England’s white-ball captain Jos Buttler, amassing 625 runs with a strike-rate of more than 163.
His 171 on his Test debut from a gruelling 387 deliveries in Dominica over more than eight hours at the crease against the West Indies last year turned heads.
His latest knock has left the cricketing world in awe of the youngster.
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen called Jaiswal “a superstar” on commentary.
“You beauty, your bat has become a magic wand,” India opener Shikhar Dhawan wrote on social media platform X.
“Rewriting cricket history, one milestone at a time!” he added.
Commentator Aakash Chopra said Friday that Jaiswal’s stats on converting fifties into hundreds had for the time being put him “even above Sir Don Bradman”.
Jaiswal struck his 11th first-class ton over 21 matches to single-handedly drive the innings for India, where the next best knock was 34.
He had always harboured ambitions to play for India and moved to India’s cricketing hub Mumbai to chase his dream at just 11 years old, and without his parents.
“I used to sleep in a dairy and then stayed at my uncle’s place but it wasn’t big enough and he asked me to find a different place,” Jaiswal told AFP in an interview in 2020.
“I then started to stay in a tent near Azad Maidan” — a field considered the birthplace of cricket in India — “and would play cricket there during the day”.
In between he sold popular street snacks to make enough money to pay for his own meals, supplementing a side hustle in cricket scoring and ball fetching in club games.
Jaiswal eventually won a place in the Mumbai state team in 2019 and became the youngest batsman, at 17 years and 292 days, to score a domestic one-day double century. (AFP)