Boy who sold pani puri to chase cricket dream will now play for India U-19Think Change India
Seventeen-year-old Yashasvi Jaiswal moved from Bhadohi in UP to Mumbai for cricket, and is set to join the India Under-19 team for the Sri Lanka tour.
Yashasvi Jaiswal moved alone to Mumbai when he was 11 years old to fulfill his dream of pursuing a career in cricket. Hailing from Bhadohi in Uttar Pradesh, Yashasvi's father, a small shopkeeper, did not stop him from shifting to Mumbai as he was finding it difficult to feed the family.
Now, six years later, Yashasvi is a middle-order batsman and is ready to join the India Under-19 cricket team for the Sri Lanka tour.
After shifting to Mumbai, for nearly three years, Yashasvi lived in a tent at the Azad Maidan ground. He ensured his family never got to hear about his struggle in Mumbai as that would mean the end of his dream. The money his father sent was not enough. So Yashasvi started selling pani puri and fruits at Azad Maidan. But there were days when he would still go to bed hungry. He told the Indian Express,
“I earned well during Ram Leela. Sometimes, my teammates would come to have pani puri, and I would feel bad serving them,” he says.
As per the Indian Express report, local coach Jwala Singh spotted Yashasvi and took him under his wing. “I saw him facing an ‘A’ division bowler with ease. I could relate to him... No godfather, no guide. He is gifted,” Jwala says.
“I used to see boys my age bring their own food, or their parents would bring big lunch boxes for them. But I had to make my own food and eat alone. Sometimes, I would request someone to buy me breakfast,” Yashasvi says.
Mumbai U-19 coach Satish Samant feels Yashasvi will be the next big Mumbai player. “He has this ability to read a bowler's mind and adapt to a situation. Most young players get tempted to play too many shots too early. He does not. He also does not have a smartphone, is not on WhatsApp, which is rare for a teenager,” Samant says .
Talking about handling stress and pressure, Yashasvi laughs and says:
“Are you talking about facing mental pressure in cricket? I have faced it daily in my life. Scoring runs is not important. I know I will score and take wickets. For me, whether I get the next meal or not is important,” he says.