Rajasthan Royals batter Yashasvi Jaiswal has said he was "really fortunate" to have picked the brains of his idol Sachin Tendulkar, whom he met before Mumbai's limited-overs series against Oman last month. According to Jaiswal, what made the interaction even better was the fact that Tendulkar, who offered him some tips on where he could improve, "was aware" of the young batter's game.

"My idol has always been Sachin Tendulkar, and I was really fortunate to have a conversation with him before the Oman tour," Jaiswal said. "I was glad that Mumbai Cricket Association invited him for a session before we left from Mumbai to play against Oman.

"I was over the moon when I first heard he was going to be present there, and when I had the chance to speak to him at length, he was really humble and helped me on some skills where he thought I could improve on. It was good to see that a legend like him was aware of my game, and it was certainly a very happy moment for me. I can't wait to keep implementing those things in my game and express myself better on the field."

Oman recently hosted Mumbai, one of the most prolific Indian domestic teams, for a three-match T20 series and a four-match one-day series to prepare for the World Cup League Two and the T20 Cricket World Cup. While Mumbai lost the T20 series 2-1, Jaiswal's 212 runs across the four one-dayers helped them secure a 3-1 win.

Jaiswal said he was happy to have had some game-time under his belt ahead of the upcoming IPL, scheduled to begin on September 19.

"I did a lot of hard work during the lockdown. So, I really want to repay the franchise's faith by performing and taking my team to the playoffs."
Yashasvi Jaiswal

"It was good practice for me before the big matches in the IPL. It had been a while I had played competitive cricket, and to play against an international team like Oman is certainly good preparation. I'm happy I could score some runs and win some matches for my team.

"I had a very good series against Oman and in similar conditions to the UAE. I'm really happy with the way I'm playing my cricket at the moment, and I can't wait to replicate these performances in the IPL against much stronger line-ups."

Jaiswal was bought by Royals at the 2020 auction for INR 2.4 crore following his excellent form in the 2019 domestic season, but he hasn't regularly featured in their line-up in the last two seasons. In the 2020 season, he played just three matches in Royals' last-place finish, making just 40 runs. In the first half of the 2021 IPL, he scored 66 runs, playing in three out of Royals' seven matches. Overall, he averages just 17.66 in six games as an opening batter with a strike rate of 112.76.

Jaiswal also had the chance to train during the off-season, and he believes he has improved in some areas which will help him perform better this season for the Royals, who are currently fifth on the points table with three wins.

"I did a lot of hard work during the lockdown. I went to Nagpur to train at the Royals Centre of Excellence and we had various sessions which were focused on my fitness, technique, mind, and skills. So, I really want to repay the franchise's faith by performing and taking my team to the playoffs, and I also believe that if we can play to our full potential, we will be able to win a lot of matches and go a long way in the tournament."

He also said that he was glad to have a mentor in Kumar Sangakkara, Royals' director of cricket, adding that he looks up to the former Sri Lanka batter for batting advice.

"We have had so many chats on what I can do during the game - how I should think, what my approach will be against which bowler, how I can change the tempo of the game, etc. So, it has been really amazing to chat with him whenever I have had any doubts, and to know that I have someone who is always so patient and polite with everything that he says, I'm really fortunate to have a mentor like him. I also feel the best thing about him is that he's always willing to listen and give his time to the players."