Despite the slew of eventful happenings that cricket fans witnessed over the past month, India's recently concluded tour of South Africa turned out to be quite a successful one. For starters, the Rohit Sharma-led side drew the T20I series, followed by an emphatic 2-1 win in the ODI series. Then came the 2-match Test series, where a down-and-out Team India bounced back from the Boxing Day Test loss to script a record win in the 2nd Test at Cape Town.
Amidst all the action and high-intensity drama, a certain youngster donning the Indian jersey was relishing every opportunity that was coming his way. It wasn't the greatest of starts for young Yashasvi Jaiswal, who was dismissed on a duck in the second T20I in his maiden outing in the land of the Proteas. But that disappointment was shortlived, as Jaiswal shrugged off a rare blip and got back to his usual self with a patient half-century in the final match. That knock set up India for a thumping victory to level the series.
watching YBJ and realizing how far he’s come >> 💗🇮🇳pic.twitter.com/5OzkEn1X0j— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) January 5, 2024
Soon, Yashasvi would face another test of his mettle, this time in a different format. A South African pace battery hunting like a pack of wolves, tough batting conditions on tricky South African pitches, and the responsibility to give India the perfect start alongside his captain. He had done it in the Caribbean, that too on debut. But this was a different ballgame altogether. India had never won a Test series in South Africa, and they were yet to win a Test match in Cape Town. A tally of 50 runs across 2 Tests wasn't the result he would've hoped for at a personal level, but throw in the fact that there were more takeaways to it, including being part of a historic Test victory and the equation suddenly seems different.
For one, Yashasvi's outright honesty is remarkable for someone his age.
"This tour has been a learning experience for me. I've learned about improvements I need to make. The ball comes differently here, and I tried giving my all, but I accept there were challenges. This experience will keep me in good stead as I am learning and would strive to improve during the next series," he told PTI in an interview after the series.
Secondly, he doesn't shy away from giving credit where due and acknowledges the role of senior team members in his growth as a player, particularly his captain, with whom he began his Test career in 2023. Ever since the duo first opened the innings for India in the West Indies, their partnership has started to look more and more formidable. The runs may not tell the full story, but the way one of them played the attacker while the other anchored the innings is proof of their growing strength at the top.
"Rohit Sharma helps me maintain a positive frame of mind, and we needed to score runs quickly against the new ball. I just wanted to give a good start, and that was all there in my mind as we had to win the match. In the last 3 innings and even in this knock, I had done the same thing," he added.
Picture credit: BCCI