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Yashasvi Jaiswal celebrates after hitting the winning runs for Rajasthan Royals against Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens on Thursday. Image Credit: ANI

Dubai: Young Yashasvi Jaiswal has seen it all in his life. As a 10-year-old, he took a long, arduous journey from Uttar Pradesh in central India to Mumbai, the cricket capital, to pursue his dream of playing for the country. He then toughed it out by doing odd jobs and lived in a labour accommodation close to a cricket ground. After being kicked out from the accommodation, he then started selling pani puris on the streets of Mumbai to meet his expenses and lived in a tent.

Facing all the adversities at tender age must have steeled him. But, now he is on a fast lane to stardom. The Indian Premier League Season 16 belongs to Jaiswal, and his scintillating knocks have positioned him close to a place in the Indian team. He is not just knocking on the Indian team’s doors, but breaking it open.

Rewriting history

The 21-year-old left-hander has been rewriting history in his short IPL career. On Thursday, he became the fastest batter to score a half-century in 13 balls, obliterating some of the biggest names in world cricket.

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“I always have it in my heart to go out and do well. That’s how I think. It’s a nice feeling that we have won. It’s not like everything happened right, but I try my best. Process is important, on how I prepare,” Jaiswal said at the presentation ceremony. The left-handed opener’s 98 not out, slamming the fastest half-century in IPL, helped Rajasthan Royals ease to a nine-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders. His knock included 13 fours and five sixes.

Jaiswal's motto

“I’m learning to play till the end and win it for the team. That’s my motto. I’m blessed, grateful and trying my best. I just wanted to make the NRR higher and not think about a hundred,” Jaiswal said. “Blessed to play with all the great players, IPL is a great platform for youngsters to play with greats.”

Chasing 150, Jaiswal’s innings took off from the start, smacking 26 runs in the opening over off Nitish Rana. He reached the quickest fifty in IPL history with the help of seven fours and three sixes, surpassing the previous record of a 14-ball half-century scored by KL Rahul in 2018 and Pat Cummins in 2022.

Yashasvi Jaiswal's played a scintillating knock to take Rajasthan home with ease. Image Credit: ANI

Jaiswal shared an unbroken 121-run partnership with skipper Sanju Samson for the second wicket as Rajasthan moved to the third position in the points table.

Former Indian skipper Ravi Shastri wants Jaiswal to be fast-tracked into the Indian team, while off-spinner Harbhajan Singh says the left-hander is not knocking at the Indian team’s doors, instead he is breaking it.

Consistent good performance

“Yashasvi Jaiswal isn’t just knocking at the doors of the Indian Cricket Team, he seems to be breaking it with his consistently good performances. He’s carried his imperious form of domestic cricket into IPL. What a talent he is! The future of Indian Cricket is in good hands,” Harbhajan was quoted as saying by Star Sports.

Jaiswal first shot into the limelight in 2015 when he scored 319 not out in the Giles Shield inter-school match. His hunger for runs was never satiated, finishing highest run-scorer in the Under-19 Asia Cup in 2018 and in the 2019 Under-19 World Cup. The left-handed batsman scored 400 runs in six one-day matches for India at Under-19 World Cup, including a century against Pakistan in the semi-final. While the earlier seasons with Rajasthan Royals gave him the recognition, but in this IPL all eyes are firmly fixed on the young batter.

Jaiswal and chahal
Yashasii Jaiswal (left) with Yuzvendra Chahal of Rajasthan Royals at social media chat. Image Credit: Source: SPORTZPICS for IPL

With the One-Day International World Cup around the corner and skipper Rohit Sharma being not in the best of forms, Jaiswal’s inclusion will give the team the right impetus at the start of the innings, while Rohit could come in at No 4 with Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav to follow.

ODI World Cup

“If Team India is focusing on ODI World Cup, selectors should look to give as many opportunities to the youngsters like Yashasvi and Rinku. These players should be fast-tracked and can be prepared for next year’s T20 World Cup in West Indies. If the selectors don’t pick them now then I don’t know what else they are looking for,” Shastri added.

The Mumbai opener so far has 475 runs from 12 matches that includes one century and four half-centuries. He is just one run behind Orange Cap leader Faf du Plessis.

“Yash has a long way to go, not just with Rajasthan, but internationally. He just needs to keep working hard, keep producing the runs and knocking on that door,” said former Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara and Rajasthan mentor said.

Jaiswal’s ruthless march has just begun.

— With inputs from IANS