#365DaysOfWriting – Day 323

The Importance of Sir Jadeja

Yes, knight the man already.

Push that collar all the way up son.

We laughed at him after 2009. Deemed him unfit to play the highest form. Called him a gully cricketer. Teased him by calling the 30-yard circle his boundary. And his bowling? No better than Harbhajan Singh bowling darts on a bad day.

But Shane Warne saw the spark.

He dubbed him rockstar during the first IPL. Showed a penchant for hitting big sixes and bowling unhittable yorkers at crucial moments.

But the IPL is a circus, right? He can’t do it in the international T20 game! See how he messed up the game against England in the World T20? You can forget about the ODI format…

He does have quite a few important performances in the ODI format (I’m not even going to attempt to describe his fielding prowess) but one that stands out for me is his counterattacking partnership with Ashwin against New Zealand in 2014, which turned around a lost cause into a tie. Here’s the scorecard. India were down and out at 6/184, needing 131 in the last 15 overs. Ashwin and Jadeja turned the tables, hitting sixes at will, and India actually looked comfortable winners until Ashwin got out at the wrong time.

Oh well test matches are a different ball game. He’s just a bad pitch bowler. And his batting is hit-and-miss at best.

Yet today, thanks to him, India is on the verge of an unbeaten streak of test series wins going back to Sri Lanka in 2015. Let me ask you a question — what’s common between Kohli, Vijay, KL Rahul and Jadeja this home season? They all have more than 6 scores of 50+. Yes, the erratic batsman Jadeja. Six instances of the swishing bat celebration. Which bowler has taken the most wickets in the India-Australia series? No, not Ashwin, but Ravindra Jadeja. He has 25 wickets to Ashwin’s 21 — just a 4-wicket difference you say? Jadeja has taken those wickets at an average of 18.56. Ashwin’s been far more expensive per wicket — 27.38.

I’m aware tougher challenges lie ahead. But to dismiss Jadeja now as a one-trick pony is pure folly. In my opinion, he could even be played ahead of Ashwin in overseas series — if only he just put a little more emphasis on his batting. Yes, I know he can bat even better than what he’s done this home series. And once he performs overseas and shuts up all his critics FINALLY, we can truly say — arise, Sir Jadeja.

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