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Yashasvi Jaiswal is going to be in the Indian team for many years to come: Jake Lush McCrum [Exclusive Interview]

'Yashasvi deserved everything that he got, he actually deserved more than what he has got,' said Jake.

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Jake Lush McCrum
Jake Lush McCrum. (Photo Source :VAQAAS MANSURI)

Rajasthan Royals surely had a dream start to their Indian Premier League campaign, as they set the stage on fire by winning the title in the tournament’s inaugural edition. But over the years they have flattered to deceive, as they’re yet to replicate the triumph of the inaugural edition. They came very close to lifting the cup in IPL 2022, but eventually received a setback and lost the summit clash.

Nevertheless, the team has fared really well throughout all editions of the tournament, and the recent IPL 2023 has been special for them, having scouted some tremendous talent from the Indian circuit. Ever since the tournament’s inception, Rajasthan have played a big role in nurturing talents from across the country, and have given a platform for both male and female cricketers.

Joining hands with Red Bull and scouting talents from every corner of the country has been Rajasthan’s forte. The Red Bull Campus Cricket (RBCC) has given team India several top names, KL Rahul, Ruturaj Gaikwad, and Shahrukh Khan being a few names among the many others. The list of Rajasthan’s efforts towards scouting talent is endless.

In an exclusive interview with CricTracker, on the sidelines of RBCC National Finals India 2023, Rajasthan Royals’ CEO Jake Lush McCrum spoke about the franchise’s partnership with Red Bull, the work carried out by the two organizations, their future plans, and also about their rising star Yashasvi Jaiswal’s recent success.

Here are the excerpts from the interview:

1. The partnership between Red Bull and Rajasthan Royals is way beyond sponsorship, and it's not just restricted to monetary aspects. Whose brainchild was this, and whose idea was it to start this process?

Brainchild! Uh, I think it was a coming together of like-minded individuals and people. Bhaskar (Sharma), the CEO of Red Bull India, was certainly very essential to it. Ranjit (Barthakur), our chairperson, and we were both part of that. And Chris (Croning) actually, is part of the Red Bull team. He was actually involved in Cricket Star, which happened before IPL, which is where we were trying to find talent across India. Chris was a participant at Cricket Star, so he had a connection to Rajasthan Royals before the IPL was even there.

So, I’d actually give it to Chris. I’m giving him too many plaudits (laughs), but he was someone who lived and breathed the Royals, he lived and breathed understanding what scouting talent meant, what giving people a platform meant. We asked him then, why wouldn’t you go for the big sides. And the Red Bull team goes “No, we’ve synergies with you as a brand, you develop talent, you launch talent on the platform, you give talent wings, and so we want to partner with you.” And I think, from that moment onwards, we have lived and breathed that message.

 2. What are your plans for the expansion of the partnership going forward?

Look, from a partnership perspective we want to do a lot more, whether it is for Red Bull speedster plans or Red Bull Campus Cricket players, or Red Bull Athletes on our side. So, I think if we can get two, three, four, five of our Indian players coming from the Red Bull system, that'd be amazing. I think Speedster we can grow bigger and better, get more players for the trials, and get more of them in our system. I think from a content perspective, we keep pushing the boundaries. I think we can keep going more and more. 

From the entertainment perspective, so many music events, and festivals that Red Bull does across the country. So I think, if we can tap into those audiences, bring a bit of entertainment and cricket together, then that can be really powerful. But overall, I think Red Bull is sort of high-performance in nature. If we can bring as many of those learnings into our cricket side to help us win the trophy, that'd be most important.

3. What’s your take on Yashasvi Jaiswal’s performance in the IPL 2023?

As you can see it makes me smile. Just so many incredible moments. His mentality, his intensity is what I want for many players in the setup and he deserved everything that he got. Actually deserved more than what he has got. He actually deserved for us to be in the playoffs we should have been in the playoffs, he deserved to take us all the way this season. The good thing for him is that the hunger is there, he wants to get just better and better, even scoring 600+ runs. He said to me 'Jake I wanted more'. That's it, 'I Wanted More'. He got his century but he wanted more, and that is his mentality. He is there for the franchise, he cares so much for the franchise, and he is so invested in our success. I'm just very happy that he is in the support squad for the World Test Championship, and I think he will be on the India side very soon.

4. Jaiswal is with the Indian team right now. How is that feeling for you?

Yeah! It’s a lot of pride! He was actually going to be here today (Red Bull Campus Cricket) so that’s the only shame that he can’t be with all of you guys. But yeah, a lot of pride. Even when you see him training there, you see how his intensity is there, he’s just wanting that opportunity. He deserves the opportunity to go learn a huge amount from the trip, whatever happens.

As I have said quite a lot, he is going to be in the Indian team for many many years to come! He will be a massive part of the Royals for years to come as well. And yeah, he has already played a big part in the last three years. I would even say five years, since the first trial, the first time I met him five and a half years ago, we’ve wanted him on our side and wanted him to be a big part of our side. We could not sign him because he had not played a state match initially, then he started hitting double hundreds and we had to pay a little bit more for him (laughs), and since then he has been a core part of the unit. So yeah, very proud, very excited for him and I look forward to meeting him in the UK.

5. What’s your take on the amazing work that is being carried out here and what has been RR's major motivation behind joining hands with Red Bull?

I think you have summarized it well. It is amazing! It’s fantastic. So much talent has come through the system, and I think with our involvement, there will be much more to come in the future. That level of excitement that comes with an IPL trial at the end of it, the potential to get a chance to get with an IPL franchise just takes it to another level. But Red Bull has always been invested at the grassroots level, supporting talent, and giving people wings. And that’s why when we partnered together four years ago, we were so synergistic. We had the same vision, we had the same passion, and I think it is going to have a long and successful future together. 

Whenever I talk to any partner, Red Bull is the case study I use because when we talk about Red Bull, it’s not just about visibility. There’s Campus Cricket, Speedster, incredible content, the Athlete Performance Centre in Austria, Mental Performance support, and much more. The list is endless and it’s massive, and the impact they have on us. We have players going to Australia to learn and develop. The best thing about Red Bull is that they are involved with over 150 sports. You can take learnings from skydiving, skateboarding, and football, bring them all into cricket, and make the best possible player development plans.

Speedster has developed many fast bowlers. I think we’re getting bigger and better this year. We’re trying to go to every premise of India to find the best bowlers and I hope to see some of them in our squad soon and they hopefully perform in the IPL stage. From the Red Bull Speedster, we have had three or four net bowlers in our system. We had one guy we bid for a couple of years back, he went to another franchise unfortunately but eventually, it’s a sign of success.

 6. One piece of advice that you'd give to all the budding cricketers

Mainly I would say they should have the hunger to learn. Whatever level you get to, always want more. You see lots of players make it to IPL squads, not many make it and perform at that level. You look at Jaiswal and you look at Dhruv they are two perfect examples. They have that hunger to learn. They are training harder they are working harder, they are listening more. Jaiswal spent almost an hour listening to Joe Root after the match, just speaking to him and understanding. Dhruv goes straight after the game asking 'What could I have done more, what could I have done better?'.

So, to anyone who is trying to be a cricketer, you must have the propensity to learn, the hunger to learn. That is the most important thing.

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