Before the semifinal of the Under19 World Cup against Pakistan, India batsman Yashasvi Jaiswal had scored five half-centuries – three in the tournament and two before it – but was unable to convert any into a hundred. His wait ended in the crunch knockout against Pakistan when he slog swept Aamir Ali for a six to complete a hundred and jump in joy.
The reason for such expressive celebration was simple. His hundred helped India sea a place in the final of the Under 19 World Cup second time in a row and Jaiswal is happy to have made the most of the advises received from the players he’s idolised – Sachin Tendulkar and Wasim Jaffer.
“Once I’d scored my fifty, I was supposed to think that I’m now batting on zero. That really helped me break that barrier,” Jaiswal told Times of India. “Wasim and Sachin (Tendulkar) sir are my idols. Wasim sir keeps telling me how to build an innings. Since he’s played in South Africa, he gave me tips on how to tackle the pace and bounce on the quick wickets here. Sachin sir gave me valuable advice, saying, ‘Every bowler will give you a clue about what he’s going to bowl next. You’ve to concentrate and catch that clue.’”
Jaiswal also sought advice from current NCA director and former India Under 19 World Cup-winning coach Rahul Dravid, who came to South Africa a month ago. “I keep asking him a lot of questions. I asked him how to bat when the team is under huge pressure. He gave me a simple advice: ‘Just focus on the next ball very, very hard,’” Jaiswal said.
With three half-centuries and a hundred, Jaiswal is the leading run-scorer of the tournament with 312 runs from five innings at a mind-blowing average of 156. He reveals that his coach and mentor, Jwala Singh, told him to break his fingers into two when the batsman was not converting half-centuries into big ones. But being the highest run-getter, Jaiswal believes, will put a smile on Singh’s face.
“When I called Jwala sir – in December – after getting selected in the World Cup squad, he was not very excited about it. He said he will be happy if I became the highest run-scorer of the U-19 World Cup and win the tournament for India. I’m happy to have almost fulfilled that promise,” he added.