1602 days ago
Ravindra Jadeja: Is he really a valuable player for the Indian team?
“Revdi” for his teammates and friends, “Sir Jadeja” for the rest of the world, Ravindra Jadeja is one of the glaring examples of IPL-born successes. Hailing from a humble background, Jadeja’s leap into the lap of fortune took place in 2008 when he was ushered under the umbrella of Shane Warne as a part of the Rajasthan Royals team, in the inaugural version of IPL. Relatively unheard of till then, he burst on the international cricketing stage, playing some blinders lower down the order. The impressive IPL performance was followed up with a stellar one at the Ranji level, where he slammed three triple centuries. The hard-to-ignore performance and the unavailability of a decent all-rounder in the Indian team cleared his way to the Indian dressing room.
Jadeja has proven to be a valuable ODI player for the Indian team on many occasions; or so it seems. India has been lacking a quality bowling all-rounder since many decades now. Jadeja, with his uncanny ability to break partnerships and provide the much required hard-hitting lower down the order in the current ODI and T20 formats, has become the apple of the captain’s eye. Moreover, playing continuously on the spinning tracks of the subcontinent, Jadeja has managed to grab useful wickets now and then through his steady left-arm spin.
But does this indispensability of his extend to Test Cricket as well? India has its all-rounder woes for its Test team too and by extension from the ODI format, Jadeja has found a convenient place at number 7 in the Test lineup. What the selectors and the captain are failing to realize is the fact that Ravindra Jadeja is ultimately born out of IPL – he does not have the temperament of a Test cricket player. His contribution in the bowling department is exhausted after 10 overs since there is absolutely no hint of variation in his bowling. He tends to continue bowling flat, offering no degree of flight, no amount of loop which can entice the batsmen to offer shots. The only weapon in his armor is the arm delivery which is again ineffective against the left-handers. He also is not a great turner of the ball so once the dust and spin offered by the wicket is gone, Jadeja is all at sea. As a result, he is a liability in the bowling department on non-subcontinent wickets. The batting department is also not benefitting much by his presence. A number 7 batsman needs to have a stabilizing temperament, offering shots on loose deliveries and letting the good ones go. He needs to have a sound batting technique and the ability to pace the innings according to what the situation demands. Jadeja displays none of the above qualities. He hardly plays with a straight bat, always trying to hit the ball out of the park. His is a wham-bam style of batting suiting the limited over version of the game.
What the Indian Test team needs today is a bowling all-rounder, not a hard-hitting batting star. Test Cricket is NOT T20 and this distinction needs to be respected. Ravindra Jadeja may be checking all the boxes when it comes to ODI and T20 cricket but Test Cricket needs character which is not even an option on his checklist.