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How Yashasvi Jaiswal living up to his name in India vs England Test series

The conviction and effortlessness in his batting sets up the young India opener for bigger, brighter returns.

Usually effusive in his praise, Rohit Sharma held back at the mention of Yashasvi Jaiswal. And maybe for good reason. Not often has an Indian scored double hundreds in consecutive Tests. The last Indian to do so ended up being an example of how not to waste precocious talent. In 2019, Mayank Agarwal scored double hundreds in the space of a month before receding into relative oblivion. So, for their sake, India would hope and pray Jaiswal doesn’t end up becoming a blip on the radar.

India’s Yashasvi Jaiswal celebrates his double century (AP)

For when he bats like a hundred is a foregone conclusion, India tend to be in a better position. Each of his three centuries have contributed more or less half the total — be it 171 in India’s 421 in Roseau, Guyana on debut, 209 out of 396 in the Visakhapatnam second Test, or 214* out of 430 at Rajkot. All of them have resulted in wins. It’s only a start, but a promising one nevertheless.

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His strength lies in a thoroughly uncomplicated technique; there is no exaggerated movement against the spinners and the head is remarkably still even when he skips out to attack. Above all, it is the 22-year-old’s intelligence and awareness that really builds on the promise. To go big after scoring a hundred is indicative of a cool, unruffled temperament that knows this is the best time to score easier runs. Singles scored with minimum fuss, loose balls dispatched with disdain, Jaiswal has adapted to every scenario with unhurried resolve. Then came the central moment of the innings — shellacking James Anderson for a hattrick of sixes that screamed the hand-eye coordination of Virender Sehwag and the audaciousness of Rishabh Pant during the last England tour. There can’t be worse morale-shattering moments than this

kind of mortifying assault. If this is how Jaiswal’s mindset works, India have reason to feel thrilled. Especially now when their batting seems to lack an enforcer. Runs haven’t come easy from the top-order and the pressure to score hundreds as a personal milestone has blunted the edge of quite a few innings. Shubman Gill was run out in his 90s, Ravindra Jadeja was to blame for Sarfaraz Khan’s run out in his 90s, but Jaiswal showed he is wired differently. Yes, he can drop anchor when required, as was evident in the earlier part of his innings. But there is always a method to it.

“The ball was really hard and there was something in it,” Jaiswal broke down the initial part of his innings on TV after India’s 434-run win in the third Test at Rajkot. “It’s especially important to give a good start to the team and as you’ve seen in the last three matches the second innings (Ollie Pope’s 196 in Hyderabad, Shubman Gill’s 104 in Visakhapatnam) makes a huge impact on the game and I was trying to make sure that I could play as many balls as I can. It’s kind of hard, Test cricket, I guess. So, I just make sure that if I’m there, I need to make sure in my mind that I will give my 100%.”

More exhilarating is how Jaisal accelerates though — 35 off 73 balls to 100 off 122 looked so brisk because he made it look easy with six boundaries and five sixes. “Suddenly I got set and I felt that I could score runs,” Jaiswal said. “I have my plans where I could play all my shots and I tried to play only those shots and get those runs. After some time my back was not really good.

I didn’t want to (retire) out but it was too much. The next day I didn’t know how it’s going to start, lots of thoughts in my mind. But again when I came, I tried to give myself time and after that I felt really, really good.” From a hundred to a double hundred is a phase not many batters can prevent complacence from seeping in. But here again, Jaiswal has proved he is wired differently, right from his domestic cricket days. Be it in the 2022 Ranji Trophy semi-final against Uttar Pradesh where he scored two hundreds (100 & 181), the Duleep Trophy final where he piled up 265 in 323 balls for West Zone in the second innings, or the Irani Cup final where he scored two hundreds – 213 and 144 – for Rest of India last February, Jaiswal’s appetite for runs tend to increase when he gets to triple figures.

To go with that now is guidance from Rahul Dravid and batting coach Vikram Rathour that is helping Jaiswal stay on top of his emotions. “As a cricketer, I always go with the emotion,” said Jaiswal. “Sometimes I do well and sometimes I don’t. The way they come and the way they talk about cricket and all other things, I think it’s been incredible and I’m really enjoying it.”

Seven Tests are still not much but there does at least emerge a clearer idea of what Jaiswal can offer in the longer run. First, that rate of conversion — two fifties, three hundreds, two of them double — speaks of the will to go the distance when the opportunity presents itself. Then that strike-rate, which at 68.69 is already growing into an Indian benchmark of modern batting transformation. But above all, the conviction with which Jaiswal is approaching every innings. Two double hundreds already in this tale, could this become another epic?


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