The real challenge starts now, says Yashasvi Jaiswal's coach

U-19 World Cup top scorer Yashasvi Jaiswal was slightly more cheerful a day after the crushing loss against Bangladesh in the final, according too his coach.

Yashasvi Jaiswal poses with the Player of the Match award for his match-winning century against Pakistan in the U-19 World Cup semifinal.   -  pti

Yashasvi Jaiswal’s face on Sunday night after accepting the Player of the Tournament award minutes after the ICC Under-19 World Cup final ended told a story. There wasn’t an iota of excitement on the teenager’s face. Instead, despite finishing the final against Bangladesh, and the tournament, as the highest run-getter, a disappointed look was written large over Jaiswal’s face. The pain of not holding the Cup that mattered to future stars was evident on his face.

Monday morning, however, Yashasvi was in a slightly cheerful mood, according to his mentor Jwala Singh. “When I spoke with him in the morning, he was obviously still upset with the team’s loss but he has seen so many ups and downs that I am sure he will be able to celebrate his individual achievement soon,” Jwala, a maidan cricketer-turned-coach, told The Hindu.

At a tender age, the boy who moved from Bhadohi near Varanasi to Mumbai to realise his dream of playing cricket at the biggest stage, Yashasvi has seen more in life than most kids of his age. With little financial support from his parents, Yashasvi would sleep in a tent at Azad Maidan, after training early on in his quest. At times, he would also sell chaat on pavement to make a quick buck and earn a meal.

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Once Jwala spotted him, things changed. The coach helped him get a home, ensured he got the right support - technical and nutritional - and most importantly, exposure at opportune platforms.

Still, with the kind of struggle Yashasvi has seen, his early days are often talked about more than his exploits on the field. Even before heading to South Africa with India Under-19, Yashasvi had shown a glimpse of talent at the highest level when he became the youngest List A double centurion in the world, when he took a Jharkhand attack including Varun Aaron and Shahbaz Nadeem to tatters en route a classy 203 for Mumbai in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Jwala stresses he is “satisfied” with his ward’s performance - “both with the bat and the ball” but insists it’s just the beginning. “The real challenge starts now. It’s the end of age-group cricket and he realises that we have to work harder to achieve the real goal (of playing for India). I am sure he has it him and we shall start working as soon as he returns on Wednesday.”

Despite the disappointment of missing out on the champion’s trophy, for now, Yashasvi can revel in having become the fifth Indian - all four of his predecessors went on to represent India in international cricket - to be crowned the Player of the Tournament.

Under-19 World Cup Player of the Tournament

2000: Yuvraj Singh (India)
2002: Tatenda Taibu (Zimbabwe)
2004: Shikhar Dhawan (India)
2006: Cheteshwar Pujara (India)
2008: Tim Southee (New Zealand)
2010: Dominic Hendricks (South Africa)
2012: William Bosisto (Australia)
2014: Aiden Markram (South Africa)
2016: Mehidy Hasan Miraz (Bangladesh)
2018: Shubman Gill (India)
2020: Yashasvi Jaiswal (India).
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