From mockingly calling him Sir Ravindra Jadeja to making thousands of memes on him, Ravindra Jadeja has seen fun being made on him everywhere on the internet. It was him though who finally had the last laugh
24 wickets in a Test series against Australia. Yes, you got the numbers right. Jadeja, who till a few days back was being trolled left, right and center on the social media, bagged 24 wickets against a good team, proving a few points to his critics.
The last image I saw of him was that of being in the illustrious company of Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne (Yes, you guessed right, in the same famous picture with Sir Don Bradman, replacing the Don from the frame). The image is attached for your perusal.
But what none can deny are the improvements he has made to his game, especially his bowling in Indian conditions. After all, twenty four wickets in a series is no joke. With every wicket he took and he dismissed Michael Clarke (probably Australia’s best batsman) on all occasions, he made his critics feel pathetic about themselves and their understanding of the game. He won a clear battle, one in which he was declared loser even before the show began.
For all those who feel wronged about an Ajinkya Rahane not getting selected to play courtesy his showing in the Ranji Trophy (though I don’t consider the Indian domestic performances as any yardstick to see talent) probably missed Jadeja’s crazy numbers. 800 runs in five matches with two triple hundreds was what he managed with the willow, and if that was not enough, he picked up 24 wickets at an impressive 20.7. To me he was the one who single handedly took Saurashtra to the finals.
But even with such numbers, he was trolled when he was selected. I heard a Facebook status saying that the entire press box clapped when he got bowled out to Pattinson leaving a delivery outside off because everyone in unison felt he did not deserve a place. For the selectors though, considering the numbers, it was an easy choice. Fortunately Sandeep Patil and party knew what they were upto and they did not got bogged down to what others thought.
Let’s not debate this further and just bring out the things he brings to the table being an all-rounder in the Indian conditions. A balanced batsman (he has to work a lot more to be called perfectly balanced) who can bat at any position that the skipper asks him to. Believe me; having seen him from close quarters, he is much better than what most people think he is as a batsman. As a bowler, here is someone who knows his limitations and works around it, something which is a rarity for Indians as a breed.
Courtesy his tight line and length he can dry up runs and the moment he comes to know what the pitch offers, he is someone who grabs it by both hands (Delhi was just one example). And let’s be honest, we all love seeing him throw those grenades from his fielding position, don’t we?
To me, I saw a more matured Ravindra Jadeja in this series. He looked like having worked on various bits of his bowling. His line, immaculate length, bowling consistently at a defined trajectory and occasionally surprising the batsmen who were definitely low on batting technique (except Clarke and Watson) was a delight to the eyes.
Let’s not forget, the legendary spinner Shane Warne, on his first stint as captain of Rajasthan Royals in the IPL had called Jadeja a cricketing ‘Rockstar’ and had at that time predicted he would be India’s next shining star. Probably the time has come.
What I am more excited about is the dimension that Jadeja gives to the Indian team in South Africa. With the team wanting to play three seamers in those helpful conditions, Jadeja is the perfect fit who can take up the second spinner’s role and that of an all-rounder. If domestic performances are any yardstick, his batting is good and courtesy his showing against Australia, he definitely will get his chances in South Africa, if he does well, he surely will prove his belonging.