Yashasvi Jaiswal touched Dilip Vengsarkar’s feet before leaving the Oval Maidan on Friday afternoon. The former India captain hugged the youngster and had a piece of advice, “stay focused and results will follow…”
Jaiswal, whose barnstorming form in domestic cricket and this edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2023) has brought him closer to donning the India colours, smiled and replied softly, “ Haan, sir…”
It was an emotional moment on the sidelines of the Dream 11 Cup, the season-closing U-14 Mumbai Cricket Association trials tournament, hosted by Dream 11-Dilip Vengsarkar Academy. As the young cricketers from the title-winning Sachin Tendulkar XI listened to Jaiswal with rapt attention, the young gun told them about the importance of making every opportunity count.
“Always remember, somebody is watching all your hard work, even god. Keep working hard and have belief in yourself. I am also doing the same... we have to keep thinking like that and be tough on ourselves. Every practice session is important, don’t take it lightly. One game can change your life. 110 per cent! I am telling you from my experience,” Jaiswal told the budding cricketers.
A few years ago, it was one of those exposure trips to England with Vengsarkar’s academy that had seen Jaiswal break into the Mumbai under-16 side. Thereon, he kept raising the bar, and in this edition of the IPL, the Mumbai-based batter has amassed 625 runs, at an average of 48.08 for Rajasthan Royals.
While a bright future awaits Jaiswal as he hopes to break into the Indian team soon, Vengsarkar believes that for young cricketers, it is important to stay focused and not fall for temptations.
“What’s important for these guys is to be consistent at the highest level. Consistency is all that matters. You need to stay focused and not fall for temptations. Single-minded devotion has to be there because for (them) at this age, there are a lot of temptations. If you fall for it, then you are gone,” Vengsarkar told Sportstar.
“There are a lot of players who are extremely talented but they fall for temptations, so these guys need to work hard and be focused…”
Being a former India captain and a seasoned administrator, Vengsarkar has been grooming young talents for years, and he understands the importance of handling success. So, speaking from his experience, he believes that for young cricketers, it is important to keep their feet on the ground.
“You need to keep your head on your shoulders. That’s important. Handling the pressure is what matters. There are so many expectations from them. IPL provides a huge financial benefit, so you need to know how to invest your money. Things should not go to your head. One should keep his feet on the ground. I know it’s tough, but it is very important,” Vengsarkar said.
While Jaiswal has been the toast of the season, Ruturaj Gaikwad - another alumna of Vengsarkar’s academy - has also proven his mettle, amassing 564 runs for Chennai Super Kings. While Vengsarkar is elated to see his wards come so far, he also believes that the budding cricketers have lots to learn.
“In cricket, focus and passion are very important. There’s no substitute for hard work and you have to improve all the time and perform in big games. I always tell the boys that they need to be a match-winner because if you score a hundred and the team loses, that has no meaning to me. But if you score 80 or 90 and you still win the game for the team, that’s what matters. Being a match-winner is important,” Vengsarkar said.
“The game has spread all over the country. All the state associations get grants from the BCCI, so they build grounds and other facilities. So, a player can come from a smaller state and can still play for India. In our times, kids from smaller cities would come to the metro cities for exposure, but now the game has gone to nooks and corners of the country. That’s important progress…”
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