Yashasvi Jaiswal lends help to unsung heroes of Mumbai cricket

Veteran Rajesh Pawar too stepped on the frontfoot to bail out Mumbai's groundsmen amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teenager Yashasvi Jaiswal, a mainstay for North Mumbai Panthers in the T20 Mumbai league, and his coach Jwala Singh came forward to help the groundsmen of the city’s maidans amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has created a dent in their sources of income.

The two volunteered to provide basic daily essentials like grocery packets to the afflicted groundsmen at several maidans in Mumbai including Azad Maidan, Cross Maidan, the Oval Maidan, Shivaji Park, Police Gymkhana and the Air India Sports Club.

“Time to help people who are the backbone of cricket,” Jwala Singh wrote on his Instagram post. “All our groundsmen who work day and night to get us good pitches and ground.

“A small contribution can help people to survive at a tough time,” he said. “A chain of human help can beat any challenge which is much needed at this tough time.”

Coming from a humble background, the young Yashasvi Jaiswal - now picked by the Rajasthan Royals for the Indian Premier League - had spent the early part of his career at these very maidans, including sleeping in one of the groundsman's tents at Azad Maidan in 2013.

Due to the nationwide lockdown imposed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, these usually-bustling maidans have now gone silent, affecting those behind the scenes the most.

It is why former Mumbai left-arm spinner and current Mumbai under-19 coach, Rajesh Pawar too lent his support to these groundsmen

Even members of Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) Apex Council, Nadim Memom and Vihang Sarnaik joined forces with Rajesh Pawar, a former T20 Mumbai player and current coach of ARCS Andheri, in this cause.

Along with daily essentials, including rice, sugar and oil among other things, they also extended their help on the financial front.

“I spoke to a few of them over the phone, learnt about their situation and decided to do something about it,” Rajesh Pawar told mid-day. “It's a small help from my side.”

A group of senior local umpires, headed by former MCA managing committee member and BCCI umpire Ganesh Iyer, too came to aid other local umpires and scorers by providing financial assistance to them.

In March, the eight team owners of T20 Mumbai had donated ₹1 lakh each to help groundsmen while Sachin Tendulkar too has continued to help out.

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