Yashasvi Jaiswal: From living in a tent to pummelling England – new Virender Sehwag stars for India in Test series


From living in a tent selling snack food, through the maidans of Mumbai, to cricketing superstardom – it has been quite the journey for Yashashvi Jaiswal.

The youngster used to flog pani puris (a deep-fried delicacy filled with potato, onion or chickpeas) to stay financially afloat but spent last week flogging England’s bowlers all over the park.

Jaiswal, 22, became the third-youngest man to score two Test double centuries, backing up his 209 versus England in Vizag with an unbeaten 214 against them in Rajkot. Only Vinod Kambli and Sir Don Bradman, who were 21, have achieved the feat earlier.

His haul of 12 sixes in an innings was the most by an Indian in Tests and the joint-most by anyone, matching Wasim Akram’s dozen maximums for Pakistan against Zimbabwe in 1996.

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Jaiswal is the third-youngest player to score two double centuries in Test cricket

Three of Jaiswal’s sixes came off successive deliveries from James Anderson – a full toss whipped over fine leg, a full ball hammered over extra-cover, a wide ball pumped back over the bowler’s head.

Statistics are one thing, and here’s another one: Jaiswal is the first Indian batter, and seventh overall, to convert his first three Test hundreds into scores of over 150, with his maiden ton a knock of 171 against West Indies in Dominica last July.

Yashasvi Jaiswal’s Test record

  • Matches: 7
  • Innings: 13
  • Runs: 861
  • Hundreds: 3
  • Average: 71.75
  • Strike-rate: 68.99

Jaiswal stays in groundsman’s tent

But his character also forms a huge part of his story. Having moved to Mumbai as child to chase his cricketing dream, Jaiswal soon found himself with nowhere to live due to his uncle’s house being too small.

He was reportedly banned from sleeping in a dairy shop where he used to work and his next home was made of canvas as he took refuge in a groundsman’s tent on Azad Maidan, pedalling those pani puris with his uncle and doing other odd jobs to make money.

Jaiswal was then taken under the wing of coach Jwala Singh, given a place to live and cricket tips to boot. “He is the reason I have reached here,” Jaiswal said of Singh in 2019. The batter has reached even higher now. His standing in the game as lofty as one of his sixes.

India's Yashasvi Jaiswal celebrates his third Test century (Associated Press)
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Jaiswal scored 209 against England in the second Test and an unbeaten 214 in the third

It would be wrong to paint Jaiswal as nothing more than a boundary-hitter, though, as he has a strong all-round game, including a defensive one. The six-fest in his Rajkot double ton came after he ground his way to 29 from 64 balls.

Only then did the acceleration arrive, starting with a hooked six off Anderson followed by consecutive fours. Successive maximums off Hartley over long-on then took him to fifty from 80 balls, and a cover-driven four off Mark Wood clinched his century just 42 balls later.

It appeared Jaiswal’s innings was over when a back spasm forced him to retire hurt on 104 but he returned the next day to strike a further 110, which included those three sixes on the trot off Anderson and back-to-back maxes down the ground off Joe Root’s off-spin. We also saw deft dabs, rasping drives and powerful sweeps and reverse sweeps over the course of his knock.

Former England captain and now BBC pundit Michael Vaughan has called Jaiswal the new Virender Sehwag – the latter having demolished bowlers from the opening spot across all forms for India between 2001 and 2013 – and Nasser Hussain also sees similarities.

Virender Sehwag (Associated Press)
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Virender Sehwag scored 8,586 Test runs for India, at an average of 49.34 and strike-rate of 82.23

“Jaiswal, for me, has been a wow moment. He has been unbelievable,” Hussain told the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast. “He is attacking, he is hitting sixes for fun, he is getting big runs.

“Every time a spinner tosses the ball up, he belts it out of the ground. You have to go back to Kambli, Sehwag… in terms of great hitters of spin, you would have to put this young lad in.

“He has got that hunger from living in a tent. He has the discipline but also has the IPL hitting potential and flair – and that is a dangerous combination.”

Hussain: England can learn from Jaiswal

Ben Duckett spoke jaw-droppingly after day three in Rajkot, saying “the more the better” when asked how many runs England could feasibly chase in the final innings and stating India’s use of a nightwatchman while leading by over 300 showed they were “wary” of Ben Stokes’ Bazballers.

Another of Duckett’s eye-catching comments was that England should take credit for the way Jaiswal plays, saying their aggressive style under Stokes and Test coach McCullum had rubbed off.

Hussain, though, does not have much truck with that argument.

He feels England should take inspiration from Jaiswal and the way he built a huge innings, with Duckett’s side having flopped from 224-2 in their first innings in the third Test as a potential lead became a deficit of 126 – and an eventual defeat by 434 runs.

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Ben Duckett reacts to criticism of Joe Root’s dismissal attempting a reverse scoop against India

“Jaiswal has not learnt from England. He has learnt from the hard yards, his upbringing, the IPL,” Hussain said of a man who has converted 12 of his 16 fifty-plus score in first-class cricket into tons.

“If anything, lads, learn from him. He is attacking but he also sits in. For the first hour he didn’t go after England, in the second hour he did. I think some of England’s batters can learn from him.”

Jaiswal said: “In India, when you grow up, you work really hard for everything. You have to work really hard to get the bus. You have to work really hard to get to the train. I have done that since childhood.

“I know how important every innings is and that’s why I really work hard in my [practice] sessions. Every innings counts for me and for my team. That is my biggest motivation: to play for my country.

“I just make sure that whenever I’m there I need to give my 100 per cent and enjoy it.”

Let the journey continue.

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Michael Atherton insists England must take their chances in the fourth Test with India now 2-1 up a 434-run victory in Rajkot

England Test series in India 2024

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