Story: Yashasvi Jaiswal Left Home At 10 To Purse Career In Cricket


Cricketer Yashasvi Jaiswal left home in rural Uttar Pradesh aged just 10 to pursue his dream of becoming a professional cricketer.

Talking in an IPL Podcast Yashasvi said, "I just really wanted to play cricket but in India, in a village, it's not easy to get an opportunity,"

"My seniors, they were telling me if you want to play cricket just go to Mumbai. That one thing stuck in my head - whenever I went to sleep or when talking to my mom I told her I wanted to go to Mumbai."

Not only did a 10-year-old Jaiswal promise to fund his own dream in one of the world's most populous cities, but he also pledged he wouldn't return home to see his parents until he had "achieved something" - which he says took four years.

The cricket was good - he'd spend all day honing his forward defence and practising ramp shots on the world famous Azad Maidan, a 25-acre area of land which is home to dozens of cricket fields and has spawned the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and current India opener Prithvi Shaw.

Surviving, however, was tough. In return for money and a roof over his head, he would work at a dairy shop until he was thrown out because he was too tired to earn his keep after a long day of cricket.

"I was like 'please let me stay here at least the night'," recalls Jaiswal. "I was alone at the time, it was a hard moment for me.

"The next day I called my cricket coach and he said to go to his home so I lived there for two or three months.

"In Mumbai it's hard to find space so I eventually needed to find another home. I moved into a tent with the groundsmen at my cricket club.

"They told me if I wanted to live in their tent, I had to score runs.

"I thought it would be good for me to live in a tent near the ground because I could wake up and go to practice, or I could do scoring or umpiring and with that I could help myself with money."

To top up his earnings - and all the while hoping his more affluent team-mates would not notice him - Jaiswal would sell street food during religious festivals.

But there was often not enough left over to feed himself. His diet consisted of lentils, rice, flour and potatoes, with chicken reserved for Sundays.