India vs England: Double century done, Yashasvi joins elite Mumbai club

Childhood coach Jwala Singh recalls his mantra for his famous ward

The magic moment (photo: BCCI)
The magic moment (photo: BCCI)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

When Yashasvi Jaiswal took on England’s debutant spinner Sohaib Bashir for a six and a four to keep his date with the double century, the 22-year-old unknowingly joined an exclusive club on Saturday. At 22 years and 77 days, he became the third youngest Indian to achieve this feat in Test cricket, both his predecessors also being Mumbaikars. And his childhood coach Jwala Singh certainly has something say about it, but more on that later.

The youngest of the three was Vinod Kambli, with whom comparisons — however odious — have begun, both being flamboyant left-handers. Kambli achieved the feat at 21 years and 32 days against Graham Gooch’s England at the Wankhede back in 1993, while the second youngest was the legendary Sunil Gavaskar (21 years and 277 days) against the West Indies during his historic debut in 1971.

The youngest double-centurion in the history of Test cricket, of course, is Javed Miandad, who achieved the feat when he was just 19 years and 140 days old.

If Jaiswal became the toast of Indian cricket on Friday itself, when he held the Indian innings together as his teammates fell by the wayside after getting decent starts, the youngster eventually lost his patience when he decided to take on James Anderson and was caught in the deep after a dominant and classy 209.

It’s a pity that hosts India once again failed to drive home the advantage of day one, failing to get past even the 400-mark when most TV pundits felt 475-plus would have been a par score on this wicket.

A look at the scorecard tells one that the second highest score in India’s total of 396 was that of Shubman Gill (34). Both Gill and Shreyas Iyer, the duo whom India relied on to deliver in Virat Kohli’s absence and the early departure of captain Rohit Sharma, failed to convert their starts once again, and cannot now expect to enjoy the long rope indefinitely.

While the cricket fraternity was gushing about Jaiswal's maturity and the way he has quickly adapted to Test cricket, his childhood coach-cum-mentor Jwala Singh tried to break it down as objectively as possible.

Speaking to National Herald over phone, Singh said: ‘’We did have a conversation after he fell for 80 in the first Test when there was a possibility of century. Over the years, I have always told him that if you can score big in the first two games of any series, chances brighten of emerging as a top scorer for the team.’’

The Mumbai-based coach, who had a young Jaiswal staying with his family for nine long years, revealed that he had often advised his famous ward to keep three things in mind while batting.

‘’The first is to defend a delivery well on the stumps, the second is to find gaps in the field or hit over the bowlers’ head, and finally the mental part — don’t overthink the format. If there are loose deliveries, put them away,’’ Singh said.

Jaiswal made the mantra look simple as he bettered a slew of records by Indian batters on his way to 179 not out on Friday. The youngster broke a 60-year-old feat, previously held by Budhi Kunderan (170* in Chennai, 1964), for most runs on the opening day by an Indian batter against England.

It is also the joint second-most runs in a day’s play for an India batter in a Test against England as he matched Gavaskar’s 1979 record where he had scored 179 at The Oval. Karun Nair, meanwhile, stands at the top of this list with his knock of 236 in Chennai in 2016 en route to his record triple ton.

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