PARTAB RAMCHAND | 27 DECEMBER, 2019
Jadeja - An Indispensable Member of the Team Across All Formats
A premier all rounder
A notable aspect about the Indian cricket team is the manner in which Ravindra Jadeja has made himself an indispensable member in all three formats. For long he was listed behind Ravichandran Ashwin as the premier Indian all rounder. Now there is little doubt that he has upstaged Ashwin in the two shorter formats of the game and is his equal when it comes to Tests.
Indeed Jadeja has the better batting and bowling figures in the traditional format and bids fair to upstage Ashwin in Tests too. He has an impressive record in first class cricket too. It must not be forgotten that Jadeja is the only Indian with three triple hundreds in first class cricket and while it may appear that his game is more suited to the shorter formats he has excelled time and again in Test cricket also. He is a street smart cricketer with an ideal temperament for he is not overawed by the grim situation or the reputation of the opposition.
The fact that Ashwin last played in the shorter formats two years ago is evidence enough that he is no longer part of the Indian squad. While there is little doubt that he can still contribute with bat and ball in Test matches he is no longer required in ODIs and T-20 cricket where the emphasis is more on utility or bits and pieces players who can contribute a handy 30 or 40 with the bat in the middle order, send down either ten or four overs accurately and be brilliant in the field. More than Ashwin it is Jadeja who fits the bill.
If there is one quality that marks Jadeja’s outlook it is self confidence. He is positiveness personified and no task is beyond him. The latest example was against West Indies in the final ODI at Cuttack on Sunday. For once Virat Kohli the supremely successful chase master left the job unfinished. When he was out India still required 30 runs off 23 balls with four wickets in hand. The entry of Shardul Thakur meant that the tail had arrived so much depended on Jadeja. And for the umpteenth time Jadeja rose to the occasion with such a nerveless display that India were home with eight balls to spare the pugnacious left hander finishing with 39 not out off 31 balls.
On the sheer weight of his performances Jadeja has made himself indispensable to the side. He is always in the game either through aggressive strokeplay, accurate bowling and being a superb fielder. If a cricketer is to be successful in the limited overs game he has to be very good in at least two departments but here we have a ubiquitous cricketer who excels in all three. And even as the youngsters make their way in one by one Jadeja at 31 is going from strength to strength.
Jadeja’s stats in all three formats are quite eye catching. In Tests he already has over 200 wickets and is approaching the 2000 run mark. In ODIs he has over 2000 runs and is approaching the 200 wicket mark. His record in T-20 internationals is also pretty handy. But more than the figures it is his dynamism and ability to always be in the game that is invaluable to the team. He is a fighter to the core as one of his most famous innings – in the World Cup semifinal against New Zealand – illustrated. Thanks to his belligerent 77 off just 59 balls from No 8 India recovered from five for three and 92 for six to come to within 19 runs of victory. That was perhaps the quintessential performance for in addition to his batting he took a wicket, latched on to two catches and ran out Ross Taylor with a direct throw.