Ravindra Jadeja’s batting is surely undermined in Tests. He might not come up with the kind of huge scores that have made him a sensation in domestic cricket (three triple centuries to be precise), he chips in with useful contributions that sometimes make a major difference as far as the final outcome is concerned.
On the fourth day, the overnight pair of Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara couldn’t stay together for long with the former falling 24 short of his century. Virat Kohli fell for another poor shot for the second time in the Test and the Indian innings looked as if it’ll tail off after a promising start.
With the Kiwi spinners gradually earning more purchase from the Kanpur pitch, the Indians had to be cautious with their approach. As the fourth wicket fell for 227, the team needed another partnership to post a score that would put the game out of reach of the tourists.
Rohit Sharma, who received a lot of flak for his insipid performances in Tests, stepped up with his first fifty in over a year. At the other end was Ravindra Jadeja. He was not overly enterprising but mixed caution with aggression perfectly to score a crucial 58-ball 50.
On a turning pitch on day 4, he quashed all whispers about the turning ball by brushing aside the spinners, smacking them for three huge sixes. As the lead swelled up considerably and virtually out of reach of the Kiwis, Kohli decided to declare the innings.
Jadeja celebrated his fifty with a wild swoosh of the bat, a move that he calls ‘Talwar-Baazi’, referring to the Rajputana style of sword brandishing done by warriors after a triumph.
As he went ahead with his celebration animatedly, a visibly amused Kohli was seen replaying the same move from the dressing room, albeit in a slightly bemused fashion, following it up with the sign to signal the declaration amidst a roar of laughter in the dressing room.
Jadeja made the celebration move famous during India’s tour of England, his inimitable style won hearts at the Mecca of Cricket after a quickfire half-century. The knock set up a memorable victory for India. Coming in with the Indian team reeling, he scored a brisk 68 off just 57 balls, setting up the hosts a target of 319 that eventually proved too much for them.
This is what the 27-year old had said after his unique celebration at Lord’s: “During festivals and special occasions, we have professional sword-fighters perform with a sword in each hand, moving them in that fashion. It's called 'talwaar-baazi'. I only had one bat with me so I did it with one hand. I wanted to have a different celebration and so I had decided whenever I get a fifty, I will do that. MS bhai (Dhoni) must have seen it and realised what I was doing. So, he was mimicking me”.
And yes, the Saurashtra born lad doesn’t just brandish his bat on the field. He was seen twirling a real sword during the sangeet ceremony of his marriage in April this year. Wearing a royal suit, he swiped the sword around, much to the amusement of the guests who were huddled up around him. Known for living a lavish life, Jadeja’s lifestyle is a rage amongst his followers, many of whom catch up with him on Instagram.
He might not be statistically the most valuable player, nor the most dependable with the bat, but he can surely create an impact. And he knows how to celebrate it in style.