Yashasvi Jaiswal (File Photo)
Yashasvi Jaiswal (File Photo)BCCI / Twitter

Yashasvi Jaiswal merits a call for ODI challenge

Mumbai, Aug 15, 2023

Indian cricket has been blessed with some young and bright cricketers. And Mumbai has given the national team aplenty.  Not long ago the former BCCI president and a great patron of the game, Raj Singh Dungarpur – who as part of the Rajasthan Ranji Trophy team was often at the receiving end against the powerful Bombay team many times -- applauded the ecosystem in Mumbai and believed that a constant supply of talent from the cricketing nursery will go a long way in benefitting Indian cricket.

Taking the year 1971 as a marker for comparison purposes, Mumbai has always delivered and shaped the fortunes of Indian cricket, in particular with an array of batsmen. After Sunil Gavaskar’s memorable demonstration of his powers of concentration and skill with the bat, Mumbai has given many batsmen like Dilip Vengsarkar, Ravi Shastri, Sandeep Patil, Sanjay Manjrekar, Sachin Tendulkar, Wasim Jaffer, Vinod Kambli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer and many more. Ajit Agarkar, a typical Mumbai stock cricketer, has a Lord’s century to show off. There are many more, who have wheeled away with the ball. Notable among the most successful is Karsan Ghavri.

Over the last few decades, a talent of the highest quality has emerged from other regions of the country,  a good augury for Indian cricket, but the Mumbai batsmen continue to make their presence and impact in a big way. While the young batsman Sarfaraz Khan made the big noise with his prolific run getting in two consecutive Ranji Trophy seasons, it is the young Southpaw Yashasvi Jaiswal --- with a terrific backstory of rising from the maidans of Mumbai --- who has stolen the thunder.

Jaiswal cut his teeth in first-class cricket for Mumbai in January 2019;  yet another example of talent being nurtured by a cricketing environment, most notably by the Mumbai Cricket Association. 

After turning out in a mere 17 first-class matches in which he amassed 211 runs with 10 x 100s for a high average of 81, Jaiswal broke into the Indian team and scored a century on his Test debut against the West Indies at Windsor Park, Roseau in Dominica. He cracked a 171 with 16 x 4s and 1 x 6s, but the most significant part of his knock was that he batted like a true blue Test batsman, staying for 501 minutes (8 hrs and 21 mts).

It was the first Test series for India after it went down to Australia in the ICC World Test Championship at `The Oval’ London. And the two-Test series against the West Indies in the West Indies was the start of the third WTC cycle and Jaiswal did not allow his raw nerves to be exposed against an attack that knew the home conditions.

 Jaiswal had skipper Rohit Sharma --- another fellow Mumbai cricketer --- to mentor him, but the lefty --- who sparkled in the domestic tournaments including in the IPL for Rajasthan Royals, grabbed his first opportunity in flannels with both hands.

Jaiswal followed up his fantastic start to Test cricket with a 57 and 38 in the second Test at Port of Spain in the presence of India’s batting legend Sunil Gavaskar and the West Indies legend, Brian Lara, a left-hander who delighted the cricket world with his scintillating strokes.

With 266 runs in three Test match innings, and with a big century to boot, Jaiswal it can be said has made a first good impression in international cricket. He has to be deemed an automatic selection for the tour of South Africa and the five-Test home series against England. 

The South African fast bowlers will make life difficult for the left-hander who is not afraid to play the horizontal bat shots of short balls. With the composition of the Indian team likely to see a change in the coming years, Jaiswal has the opportunity to cement his place at the top of the order with another gifted batsman in Shubman Gill.

The team management has been reluctant to play him in the longer version of white ball cricket; the 50 overs a side format. In the absence of K.L. Rahul and Shreyas Iyer, the think-tank did not play him in any of the three ODI matches against the West Indies and did not field him in the first two Twenty20 internationals. A clean striker of the ball and in good nick over the last year, Jaiswal ought to be tried in all formats.

The Men in Blue will play the Asia Cup 2023 in Sri Lanka in a 50-over format because of the ICC World Cup in India which is going to be a 50-over format competition and also three ODIs against Australia at home --- as a preparation for the World Cup. 

Will the senior selection committee in Ajit Agarkar (Chairman), Shiv Sundar Das, Salil Ankola, S. Sharath and Subroto Banerjee stick their neck out and pick him for the Asia Cup? It all depends on the latest health status of Shreyas Iyer and K. L. Rahul both recovering from injuries. 

The team management is inclined to choose Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians left-hander Tilak Varma who has impressed the layman and the discerning in the Twenty20 format, a format in which Jaiswal has prospered.

Jaiswal, 21, has been successful in the domestic white ball format tournaments, scoring 1511 runs in 32 matches with five centuries. The Mumbai left-hander is the batsman in form and he is worth a try in the highest level of limited-over cricket.

Mumbai has shown a bias to gift Indian cricket with right-handers, and so Jaiswal is an exception. He is only the second batsman after Vinod Kambli (1993-1995) to make the breakthrough after 28 years. Bapu Nadkarni, Ajit Wadekar, Eknath Solkar and Karsan Ghavri have been the prominent left-hander group from the cricketing hub.

Jaiswal has shown a fierce determination to excel at all levels – for Mumbai, India and Rajasthan Royals. Sure enough, he will try his hardest to prove his talent consistently.


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