IPL: How did Yashasvi Jaiswal return to form with a century?

Pacing the innings well rather than obsessing over strike rate did the trick for him

Yashasvi Jaiswal acknowledges the crowd, ending his lean run in the IPL 2024 with a century on 22 April (photo: BCCI)
Yashasvi Jaiswal acknowledges the crowd, ending his lean run in the IPL 2024 with a century on 22 April (photo: BCCI)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

Until his unbeaten 104 against the Mumbai Indians on Monday, 22 April, Yashasvi Jaiswal was not quite the batter that cricket fans had been swooning over the past year.

It seemed the young Rajasthan Royals opening batter was trying too hard to build on to his (admittedly admirable) reputation recently — in the process just managing 129 runs from the first seven games this season, at an average of 17.28.

There was some muted talk about whether it was the pressure of expectations, but it didn’t get amplified, as the Royals began their campaign on a rousing note. Besides, they had others to shoulder the burden, like captain Sanju Samson, Riyan Parag and Jos Buttler.

However, Jaiswal picked their home venue of Jaipur and his ‘favourite’ opponents — against whom he now has two IPL centuries — for a welcome return to form, with the team selection for the T20 World Cup just round the corner.

Last year, he clobbered 124 off 62 balls against the Mumbai Indians, raking up an awe-inspiring 625 runs in the season to finish fifth on the run-getters’ list. This time, he is way behind in the pecking order, with a modest 225 from eight games now; but his innings must have ironically pleased a key member of the rival camp—Rohit Sharma.

Jaiswal is billed to be the chosen one to walk out with Rohit in the US and the West Indies, despite the sudden pitch by a few former greats that the ’Big Two’ (Rohit Sharma–Virat Kohli) should open for India in the marquee event.

What was the new strategy that helped Jaiswal buck his sorry trend so far, though? It’s not that he wasn't getting the starts in the earlier games; but it seemed he was obsessed with the strike rate and going hard at deliveries — something which he finally gave up, settling for pacing out the innings instead. While he ended with a strike rate of 173.33, Jaiswal took his time getting started, with 110 off the first 10 balls of the innings, before going up to 180 after 20 balls.

‘’This is more the Yashasvi Jaiswal we know. I think he took his time early on, played some conventional shots and then we all know what he could do,’’ former India opener Wasim Jaffer, who has seen the former’s journey from close quarters in Mumbai, said on a podcast. ‘’He has everything in his armoury, but he just needed a little bit of time to bat out of that powerplay, which he did. Those failures helped him to realise that this is how he needs to approach a T20 innings.’’

Summing up his innings, the man of the moment told the broadcasters after the match: ‘’I really enjoyed [batting] from the start, and I was just trying to make sure that I was watching the ball properly and playing my cricketing shots, which I think I did today.’’

He went on to add: ‘’I really enjoyed it, I really loved it. I am trying to keep doing what I do. Some days are tough and some days are good. I was just playing—that is all. I didn’t have anything in my mind.’’

Asked how the team management engaged with the precocious talent during the first seven matches, Samson lavished praise on him. ‘’I don’t think he needs anyone. He is always filled with a lot of confidence,’’ he said.

‘’We knew that it is just a matter of one game," he continued. "I think the way he batted in the powerplay, he was calm, composed and he knew things were under control. We knew in the dugout that he was playing some [nice] cricketing shots today and he would be fine today. Really happy for him.’’

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