His moment had come. Something he had dreamed of as a kid was fulfilled. He got his maiden Test cap for India amidst goosebumps. Jayant Yadav’s hardwork and dedication were being finally rewarded. And he made it count.
It was a proud moment for the 26-year-old who represents Haryana in the Ranji Trophy. “Everybody who aspires to play cricket, as you graduate from Under-17, 19 and Ranji Trophy, knows the Test level is the utmost level of international cricket and everybody is vying to play that,” said a beaming Yadav, after the second Test against England in Visakhapatnam which India won by 246 runs.
And even his captain agreed that Yadav’s inclusion had reinvigorated the team.
“It’s always priceless those contributions and it speaks volumes of his character,” said Virat Kohli. “For a young guy to come in and tell his captain the field he wants, the line and length he would bowl, it shows he knows what he is doing. I’m really happy for him.”
Calm and composed
Yadav gave a good account of himself with the bat as well when he hung around in the first innings and steered India past the 450 mark with a vital contribution of 35.
Things begun well for him in the field as he outstandingly ran England’s Haseeb Hameed before dismissing Moeen Ali. The good thing about the wicket was not just the fact that Yadav flighted the ball well and bowled a great line and length but also the confidence he exhibited.
The umpire had adjudged Ali to be not out but Yadav was quick to pounce on it. Such was his confidence and composure and the fact that he analysed the situation so well, Virat Kohli could not deny him and went ahead with it, which then saw Yadav get his maiden Test wicket.
The better part of the story was still to come. India had lost quick wickets on the morning of the fourth day and were struggling to get past the 200 mark to stretch their lead to over 400. It was Jayant Yadav again who played a handy innings. It was not just about the runs he scored but the way he scored them. Standing unscathed, Yadav played the bowlers with rather ease and showed no signs of pressure a debutant feels.
He then did wonders with the ball in hand, claiming three wickets. And as Kohli had mentioned, it was more than his performance that was impressive, his attitude, composure and temperament were something that nicked it.
Coming up the ranks
Yadav, though born in Delhi, made his first class debut for Haryana against Gujarat in 2011. His beginning there was good as well as he ended up with six wickets. Apart from his bowling, he gave evidence of him being handy with the bat as he scored a double century in the subsequent season, batting at No.9 and stitching a 392-run stand with Amit Mishra.
Come the next season, Yadav got to feature in the game to host the England side in the warm-up game. Yadav got four wickets in the game including England captain Alistair Cook who was enjoying a purple patch then.
Yadav grew from strength to strength and his best phase came in the 2014-‘15 season where he clinched 33 wickets at an average of 17.66 and ended the season as Haryana’s top wicket taker. He also scored his second ton for his team and subsequently, batted long with Virender Sehwag to accumulate 206 runs.
Soon the all-rounder started being noticed. He was scalped by the Delhi Daredevils side in 2015 who were in desperate need of an all-rounder. Though he did not feature regularly, he did considerably well.
Things kept moving forward and soon, he found a place on the Zimbabwe tour in 2015 but only got his maiden One-Day International appearance against New Zealand in October last month. Against a struggling New Zealand side, Yadav did not have much to contribute but did his part claiming his first ODI wicket in the form of the dangerous Corey Anderson.
Soon after, he got his Test debut as well and as it panned out, turned out be a great outing for the 26-year-old all-rounder.
Things have not come easy for him. Jayant Yadav has featured in 43 first class games, picking up 121 wickets at an average of 29.28. No muck with the bat, Yadav also has 1610 runs at an average of 28.75. Yadav has put in the hard yards and has been open to learning. A quick learner with great attitude and temperament, Yadav seems to be making the right choices as he has with choosing his mentor.
“I first got to know Ash in 2014 through Eric Simons. He was preparing for the England tour and it was very sweet of him to help me because at that time, I was just playing Ranji Trophy. Just to allow me to see how he prepares, if he could give me some inputs at that point of time, which he did, and we stayed in touch, said Yadav. “He didn’t give a lot of technical inputs (in this match) but he told me about bowling different lines to different batsmen, being consistent at all times and where I was erring on the length. Right now, Ash is bowling beautifully, like a dream.”
If the 26-year-old can continue to work hard and stay focused, there is no reason he cannot go on to play for long for India, for he has it all.