India’s Yashasvi Jaiswal, who stole the limelight during the recently concluded Under-19 World Cup, said that practising on astro-turf pitches before the tournament helped him excel on the bouncy tracks in South Africa.
The 18-year-old, other than being named Player of the Tournament, was also the highest run-getter in the tournament with 400 runs in six innings, including an unbeaten hundred against Pakistan in the semifinal.
“(His mentor) Jwala Sir had told me that you have to go and bag the player of the series award. We practiced a lot on how to play on bouncy tracks. We practiced on how to play short-balls and that helped me,” Jaiswal told PTI on Saturday.
“I was either playing or leaving short-balls. There is bounce on astro-turf wickets like how it is there, so I batted on astro-turf wickets and that worked,” said the teen, who dedicated his player of the series award to Jwala.
Jaiswal, who is seen as the next young gun to make it big, said during the tournament he also learned how to bat under pressure.
“It was a very good experience, to play in a different country, where the wickets were also different. And I enjoyed batting as I was batting for longer duration in the games as well as in the nets. I learned a lot while playing and also learned on how to deal with pressure, as pressure was there during most of the games,” the left-handed opener said.
Jaiswal’s scores in the tournament were 59 (versus Sri Lanka), 29 not out (versus Japan), 57 not out (versus New Zealand), 62 (versus Australia), 105 not out (versus Pakistan) and 88 (versus Bangladesh). India, however, lost the final to Bangladesh.
Jaiswal said his century against Pakistan was “an important 100” of his life.
Both Jaiswal and his opening partner Divyansh Saxena gave India good starts during the event and he acknowledged the role played by his “Dadar Union” teammate.
“Whenever I was in a hurry or went for a big shot, we spoke to each other. At such times, Diyvansh used to tell me keep playing, a lot of time is left in the game, we will score runs,” he said.
Jaiswal, who sold paani puris and lived in a tent in his early playing days in Mumbai, also expressed his gratitude for junior chief selector Ashish Kapoor who suggested that he could open the innings for India U-19.
“All the U-19 selectors helped me a lot. It was because of Ashish Kapoor sir that I was able to open. I would like to thank all the selectors and coaches,” he added.
(With inputs from agencies)