Opinion Piece

Yashasvi Jaiswal: India's Next Long-Term Test Opener?

By scoring a hundred on debut, Yashasvi Jaiswal has lived up to the expectations of the selectors. He successfully showed a glimpse of his talent and temperament on a big stage.

Dillip Mohanty
Dillip Mohanty

Last Updated: 2023-07-17

Test Openers : an endangered species

Openers are the most crucial players in a cricket team. Teams depend on their openers to build a solid platform to launch the middle orders for a big score. Opening the batting is a tough ask as the batter has to assess the pitch, the conditions and tackle the new swinging ball against a quality pace attack. India has a rich history of batters and especially opening batters. Examples are Sunil Gavaskar, Kris Srikkanth, and Gundappa Viswanath etc. There are some who are promoted in the order from the likes of Virender Sehwag. Hanuma Vihari volunteered to open in Australia as there were no backup. Sehwag formed a formidable partnership with Gautam Gambhir at the top for India. Sehwag was a successful experiment and went on to put his name in history as one of the greatest India openers smashing 8586 runs in Tests with a couple of triple centuries (23 tons) and a healthy average of 49.33, strike rate of 82.2.

India's problem at the top in Test

After Sehwag and Gambhir’s departure from the Test circuit, India experimented with several pairs at the top such as Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Abhinav Mukund, Parthiv Patel, Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari, current captain Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill all getting the opportunity to open the innings.

Skipper Rohit Sharma started opening the batting in Tests since 2019 forming a pair with Mayank Agarwal and with Gill afterwards. With Rohit Sharma turning 36 this year, selectors are looking for a young opener who could be a long term prospect like Sehwag. The whole Indian batting order is about to go through a transition phase and at such a stage, enters Yashasvi Jaiswal.

Jaiswal's journey : from Tents to Test cricket

Jaiswal is a Mumbai batter carrying the ‘khadoos’ attitude on the pitch. He hails from a humble beginnings as he shifted from a town in Uttar Pradesh to the hub of Indian cricket, Mumbai at the tender age of 10. After struggling with some odd jobs and failing to find a proper accommodation, Jaiswal is believed to live in a small maidan tent and was spotted by coach Jwala Singh who took him under wings and changed his entire career and life. The coach provided him a place to stay and, in some time, Jaiswal was selected to represent the Mumbai Under 19 team at the age of 14.
Jaiswal graduated to play for the Mumbai under-23 team and was also selected to represent the Indian Under-19 team to play the 2018 Youth Asia cup where he was the top run getter for the team. 
The Under-19 World cup followed in 2020 where Jaiswal stole the limelight with a fine century against Pakistan in the semi-final and finished the tournament as the highest scorer. Rajasthan Royals picked him at the Indian Premier League auction by a whopping INR 2.4 crores. Making his debut in the covid hit 2020 season, Jaiswal featured in just 3 matches and continued playing for Mumbai in the 2020/21 domestic season without much success.

The next IPL season was split into two halves due to the COVID-19 outbreak and after playing the initial three games, Jaiswal had to wait for almost three and a half months for some action where he found little form and managed to score a half century. He was backed by the management for the 2022 season where after some early failures he found some batting form and confidence opening the innings with Jos Buttler managing to get the team to the finals. The 2023 season was even better for the youngster as he finished the season as the fifth highest run scorer with 625 runs to his name, scored the fastest half century in just 13 balls ending unbeaten on 98 in the same game and then managed to finally score his first T20 ton against Mumbai Indians fittingly at the Wankhede Stadium.

Representing Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy, Jaiswal scored three centuries in consecutive innings and a half century in the fourth but Mumbai failed to clinch the title against a strong Madhya Pradesh side. His performance merited his selection in the West Zone team for the Duleep Trophy, another First Class tournament. Jaiswal was the top run getter scoring 497 runs at an average of 99.4 with a couple of centuries in 3 matches and then represented India ‘A’ on the tour of Bangladesh scoring one century. Another brilliant domestic season for Mumbai (315 runs in 9 innings of Ranji Trophy) prompted the selectors to give him a chance in the Irani Trophy clash against Madhya Pradesh.

In that game, Jaiswal batted at 3 as Mayank Agarwal and Abhimanyu Easwaran opened the innings, Easwaran being another prospect of the Indian opening slot since a long time scored 154 in the first innings with Jaiswal scoring 213 in 259 balls following it with another brilliant knock of 144 runs in just 157 balls in the second innings where the rest of the batting order failed miserably. That game was probably a trial between three India prospects for just one slot and Jaiswal deservingly won that spot by a thumping margin.

The dream debut

After the IPL, team India started their quest for the new ICC World Test Championship cycle handing debuts to two youngsters, two left hand batters: Ishan Kishan (as a wicketkeeper) and Yashasvi Jaiswal who became India’s 306th Test player. Opening the batting against the West Indies away from home on a turning track, Jaiswal scored 173 on his debut innings. He broke several records along with skipper and opening partner Rohit Sharma as the pair took India to first innings lead without losing a wicket, a feat achieved for the first time by India. It was a memorable moment for young Yashasvi who scored a magnificent ton in his first innings as an India player and batted the whole second day partnering with Rohit and another idol of his, Virat Kohli as India clinched a healthy lead.

Yashasvi Jaiswal Batting at Dominica.jpeg

His ability to play both seam and spin bowlers was commendable and so was the technique on display. The knock also made him the highest run scorer for India on debut playing away from home. Commenting on Jaiswal’s innings India captain Rohit Sharma said "He's got the talent, We knew about it. He's shown us in the past couple of years that he's ready for this big stage. He came and batted sensibly, showed a lot of patience, and the temperament was tested as well - at no stage he was panicking or going away from his plans, which was good to see."

The start has been fantastic for the young left hander and the future look bright. 

Dillip Mohanty
Dillip MohantySports Editor

Dillip has over two decades of experience in creating sports content. As the Sports Editor of SportsBoom, Dillip brings in a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. Dillip has worked with leading sports broadcasters and sports web content portals in Asia. He is an adept storyteller and has a special liking for data stories. He has a keen interest in data analysis and uncovering insights from large datasets. He loves to tell the story with rich and compelling data visualisation.