For any budding cricketer, playing with or against MS Dhoni is a big deal. Ask any youngster from Jharkhand who has played the Vijay Hazare Trophy with Dhoni and he’ll probably tell you that meeting or talking to Dhoni is the single biggest moment of his cricketing career, one that can only be matched to the prestige of getting an India cap. Several youngsters, over the last three-four years have been overwhelmed by Dhoni’s presence. As Sunil Gavaskar pointed out, Dhoni’s popularity has India has even overtaken that of the great Sachin Tendulkar.
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Hence, it wasn’t a surprise to see 18-year-old Yashasvi Jaiswal completely in awe of Dhoni’s presence. Shortly after the toss took place in Match 4 of the 2020 IPL and Rajasthan Royals captain Steve Smith walked away, the camera caught the young Jaiswal and Dhoni bumping fists before the youngster greeted the India legend with a “Namaste”. The small clip and its several screengrabs became viral on social media with Twitter applauding Jaiswal, who was making his IPL debut, for the gesture that won him several hearts across social media.
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The 18-year-old, billed as one for the future, can also find adulation. In October, the India U-19 batsman, playing for Mumbai, became the youngest in the world to score a double century in List-A cricket. The left-handed batsman was bought by 2008 winners RR, a team known to give youngsters a launch pad.
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The franchise bought the top-order batsman for Rs 2.4 crore in the auctions after his fine efforts in India’s run to the final of the U-19 World Cup early this year. Jaiswal was the highest run-getter of the tournament with 400 runs from six matches. A huge Tendulkar fan, Jaiswal told HT in an interview that he is focussed on doing well and is not bothered by the price tag that’s been associated with him.
“The price tag doesn’t really matter to me at this stage of my career. I just want to focus on playing, learn from my senior players, and develop my game and to take it to the next level. IPL is going to be watched by millions; getting a chance to play is amazing,” he had said.
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