Doubts were raised when India’s under-19 captain Yash Dhull opted to bat first against Australia at Coolidge in the U-19 World Cup semifinal on Wednesday. However, a greater challenge awaited him when he strode out with the scoreboard reading 37/2 in the 13th over.
The following overs saw Dhull precisely pacing his innings, yielding a total of 110 runs, to build the foundation of a mammoth victory and take India to the U19 World Cup final.
Dhull’s journey of cricket started when a curve ball was thrown at him at the age of 11. Initially, he studied in Bal Bhawan School for eight years. The school, however, couldn’t provide him with adequate opportunities.
“Yash pleaded for an opportunity to prove his potential. Then we decided to give him one match and told him that was his only opportunity. Dhull played against a 14-year old, and scored 125,” said Rajesh Nagar, childhood coach.
Dhull’s family was a big supporter of his cricketing career. They never interfered him during his coaching. “His grandfather is an ex-army man and that discipline is reflected in him,” the coach added.
As he thrived at the U-16 level, the junior national selector, Gayendra Pandey told him that he would be in India’s U-19 scheme of things this year, but the plan came to a standstill due to the first Covid-19 lockdown.
“We set up nets on our terrace and started working on certain shots using tennis balls. His coaches would do his fitness on the terrace. He mastered the inside-out shot through the covers during that period,” said Vijay, Yash’s father.
From an early age, Dhull believed in hitting the gaps and keeping the singles flowing. He has worked hard on his power-hitting technique, which led him to win a club match against a team full of seasoned cricketers single-handedly. On Wednesday, the same approach helped him through his innings in the semifinals.