From selling Pani Puri to living in a tent, India U19 Yashasvi Jaiswal is a true hero
If there is a will, there is always a way. This saying fits perfectly in the case of young Yashasvi Jaiswal whose only dream is to play cricket for India. He did not have it easy like many others but is still living his dream. Today we are out with the story of a cricketer who is a warrior and is destined to succeed.
According to The Indian Express, Jaiswal moved to Mumbai at a very young age to pursue his dream. There was no objection from his family in Bhadohi in Uttar Pradesh as his father was finding it difficult to feed his family.
He had an uncle in Mumbai, who was the manager of Muslim United Club and had arranged a sleeping place for the child in a tent at the club. Jaiswal had no other option as he was thrown out of the dairy shop he used to sleep in.
“This was after I was asked to leave the dairy at Kalbadevi. After playing cricket the entire day, I would get tired and go to sleep. One day, they threw out my luggage saying I do nothing, don’t help them and only sleep”
He stayed in that tent for three years. He never allowed his pains to reach Bhadohi as it would have put an end to his cricketing career. He even had to sell Pani Puri during the Ram Leela in Azad Maidan and help sell fruits to keep himself going as the money his father used to send wasn’t enough.
But there were days when he had to go to sleep with an empty stomach as the groundsmen he shared the tent with used to fight with each other and refused to cook.
“During Ram Leela, I earned well. I prayed that my teammates would not come there for pani-puri. Sometimes they did and I would feel bad serving them”
He played his heart out to make some money. He used to ply his trade with older boys to earn Rs 200-300 for a week.
“I always used to see boys my age bringing food or their parents had big lunches with them. As for me, it was — khana khud banao, khud khao. (make your own food, eat alone). No breakfast. Catch hold of anyone around and request them to buy breakfast”
He used to make Rotis for everyone in the tent and had lunch and dinner there.
“Every night used to be a candlelight dinner. After all, there was no electricity.”
While the days were much less troublesome as he was busy with his work and cricket, the nights were sometimes too tough to survive.
“I would miss my family and would cry. It was not just being homesick but going to the toilet was a hindrance to sleep. There was no toilet at the maidan, and the one near Fashion Street that I used was closed at night”
According to Mumbai U-19 coach Satish Samant, Jaiswal is the next big thing in Mumbai cricket.
“He has this ability to read a bowlers mind and adapt to a situation. Most under-19 players get tempted to play too many shots too early. He does not. The other thing is, he does not have a smartphone, is not on WhatsApp. This is rare for a teenage cricketer these days. He is cut off from social media. He has talent and if he keeps focus like this, he will be next big from Mumbai player”
Before getting picked for the Mumbai Under-19 squad, Jaiswal conquered the Azad Maidan with his batting skills but needed support. Things started changing for Jaiswal when a local coach Jwala Singh met him and decided to train him.
Jwala was all praise for Jaiswal and said:
“He must have been around 12 years and I saw him facing an ‘A’ division bowler with ease. I could relate to him. When I also came to Mumbai from UP, I didn’t have a house to stay in. No godfather, no guide. He is gifted. He has 49 centuries in the last five years”
Jaiswal, now a resident of a small chawl in Kadamwadi, call that his palace.
“Have you ever stayed in a tent? I bet you can’t stay one day there in summers. It gets very hot, sir. The heat generated by plastic is unbearable. We would often take our sheets and sleep on the open ground. Once, an insect bit me near my eyes and it was swollen. After that, despite the heat, I slept inside”
He still holds his struggles in life more difficult than getting runs or the mental pressure that comes with playing cricket.
“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”
“I remember the days when I was almost shameless. I used to go with my teammates for lunch, knowing that I didn’t have any money. I would tell them, ‘paisa nahi hai, bhook hai’ ( I don’t have money but am hungry).”
He used to stay calm when his teammates used to tease him for having no money. After all, they did not have to go through what Jaiswal had to. We salute the youngster is ready to join the India Under-19 team for the Sri Lanka tour.