Ravindra Jadeja – Team India’s ‘Man Friday’: After winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2017 and wresting the cup from the Kangaroos, Ravindra Jadeja ‘stands tall’ with his all-round performance.
Speaking at the post-match presentation, the MoM of the Final Test and the MoS, said, “Very good to be the No. 1 Test bowler and being part of this champion Test side. When I batted, I was thinking to take my time and then Matthew Wade chirped from behind. That motivated me. If I can respond to him with runs, it will be great. Coaches and captain have been telling me I have the skill to bat long. I developed as a player overall. Some time ago people didn’t consider me a Test bowler. This season is a good response to them. Ashwin and I maintain pressure from both ends. The variation of offspinner and left-arm spinner also works well. Hopefully we can continue this outside India too. I will try to get to a hundred next time, and celebrate with two bats as swords.”
Definitely Jadeja has come a long way in the longer version of the game, compared to what he was about a year ago.
In the New Zealand Test series, Jadeja, playing in 5 innings (remaining unbeaten on 3 occasions), had scored 129 runs at an average of 64.50 with a score of an unbeaten 50* being his best knock. He had a solitary half-century to his credit.
Bowling in all the 6 innings, he had picked up 14 wickets at an average of 24.07 and 2.34 economy rate. His best bowling performance has been a scalp of 5/73 in an innings and 6/131 in a match. He was ranked second to Ashwin in the ‘leading wicket-takers’ list in the series.
The Test series against England saw the Saurashtra left-hander accumulate 224 runs in 7 innings that he got to bat (remaining unbeaten once), at an average of 37.33 with 90 runs as his individual best. He had a couple of half-centuries to his credit.
Rolling over his arms in all the 10 innings, Jadeja picked up 26 wickets at an average of 25.84 and 2.31 economy rate. He had a solitary ‘five-wicket’ haul and ‘ten-wicket’ haul respectively. His best bowling performance has been 7/48 in an innings and 10/154 in a match.
In this series also he was second to Ashwin in the ‘leading wicket-takers’ list.
In the only Test played against Bangladesh in Feb 2017, Jadeja notched up a solid 60* runs aided by 4 fours and a couple of sixes in the first innings.
He scored 16* runs in the second knock and alongwith Cheteshwar Pujara, helped Team India to set up a huge target of 459 runs for the opposition.
Having scored 76* runs and remaining unbeaten in both the innings, he did not have an average.
Picking up 2 wickets at the cost of 70 runs in Bangladesh’s first innings, Jadeja was also instrumental in demolishing the opposition batsmen in the second knock by picking up 4 wickets, giving away only 78 runs. His performance helped Team India win the match by a mammoth 208 runs.
Jadeja also played a key role in the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2017. Having to wield his bat in 6 innings out of the possible 8, and remaining unbeaten on one occasion, Jadeja piled up 127 runs at an average of 25.40 with 63 runs as his individual best that came in the first innings of the Final Test played at Dharmashala. In that encounter, partnering Wriddhiman Saha, he added 96 valuable runs for the seventh wicket. That was the second-best partnership in the entire match. He also had a couple of half-century knock in the series.
Bowling in tandem with Ravichandran Ashwin, in all the eight innings, the left-arm spinner picked up 25 wickets at an average of 18.56 and 2.17 economy rate. His analysis of 6/63 in an innings (first innings of the Second Test at Bengaluru) and 9/178 in a match (in the Third Test at Ranchi) were the best bowling performances. He also had a couple of ‘five-wicket’ hauls.
Jadeja finished at the top of the ‘leading wicket-takers’ list ahead of Ashwin. Incidentally he also ended up being the ICC No 1 ranked bowler in Tests.
He won Player of the Match award 3 times (once against New Zealand, England and Australia respectively) and once awarded the Player of the Series (against Australia) in a tough competition with a few others in the fray.
Ravindra Jadeja, who always had very successful domestic seasons, scoring tons and tons of runs and picking up wickets in heaps, show cased his all round talent at the international level, albeit under home conditions.
He would be required to deliver identical performances when Team India travel abroad and play under conditions that are alien to the sub-continent which would undoubtedly establish him as a true ‘word-class’ all-rounder.