Yashasvi Jaiswal is the next big thing in Indian cricket
Yashasvi Jaiswal dazzled his way to a maiden IPL hundred against Mumbai Indians, also taking him top of the run-scoring charts for this season. By the looks of it though, he is only getting started, writes Shashwat Kumar.
Jaiswal, ever since he broke onto the scene as a teenager, has been touted for greatness. At the 2020 U-19 World Cup, he looked a class above everyone else, notching up three fifties in three knockout games, which included a magnificent ton against Pakistan.
That hype, rather understandably, permeated into the IPL too. While his first season was not ground-breaking, his second season (2021), where he scored 249 runs at a strike rate of 148.21 hinted that he was coming to grips with the format, and the expectations that surround a competition such as the IPL.
After an up-and-down 2022 campaign, which saw him dropped for a brief period, he seems to have cracked the IPL code in 2023. Not only is he scoring runs – something he has become renowned for in first-class cricket, but also scoring them at a fair clip. In short, he is doing everything expected of a top-quality T20 opener. And he is still only 21 and averages more than 80, yes 80, in first-class cricket.
The century against Mumbai was a perfect illustration of this. He hit shots all around the dial, and never seemed out of his comfort zone. Jaiswal would hook Jofra Archer out of the Wankhede Stadium one over, and then lap it just as delightfully over the keeper the next. He would bring out the reverse sweep on another occasion and seem just as graceful caressing the ball through extra cover.
The best part about this knock, though, was how Jaiswal kept backing himself to increase the tempo, even as those around him fell cheaply. In a total of 212, Jaiswal was the only batter to cross 20, and based on how extraordinarily he batted, that seemed apt too.
It is also quite revealing that his best knocks in the IPL – arguably the ton against MI and the half-century against Chennai Super Kings days ago, have come after he copped a bit of criticism earlier in the season for slowing down after the powerplay.
Whether that was warranted or not is a discussion for another day but the way this 21-year-old has silenced his doubters with the bat, indicates he can handle pressure. With each passing game, he is also figuring out what match-ups he can maximise and how he can target the middle overs, apart from scoring heavily in the powerplay.
The fact that Jaiswal, at 21 years of age, is opening the batting for RR and at times, overshadowing Jos Buttler, is testament to his ability. That he is looking at home, even in that cauldron of pressure, only portrays his hunger to stand up when thousands of eyeballs are trained on him.
It is almost as if he goes searching for the big occasion because he knows he has what it takes to succeed. His magnum opus at the 2020 U-19 World Cup was his century against Pakistan. The hundred he mustered against MI on Sunday was in the IPL’s 1000th game, and a couple of months earlier, he cracked a sumptuous double ton in the Irani Trophy.
All of these, especially for a youngster, are great signs.
Jaiswal’s talent, of course, has never been in doubt. But it is about what he is doing with it that is remarkable. Prithvi Shaw, one of Jaiswal’s domestic teammates, is just as talented, although he currently finds himself out of a Delhi Capitals side that is marooned at the bottom of the table.
Talent, thus, does not guarantee anything, unless it is backed up by the sheer weight of runs. And that is what Jaiswal is doing, irrespective of the format he is playing.
Prior to this season of the IPL, there was a feeling that Jaiswal, with a first-class average of more than 80, was India’s next Test opener. Now, he has put forth a very compelling T20 case too.
Only special players are able to thrust themselves into the reckoning in two vastly different formats in such a short space. Then again, Yashasvi Jaiswal is special.
To bet on the IPL with our Match Centre partners bet365, head here.