“The best way for me is to play my game”
A man of few words, Ravindra Jadeja is an uncomplicated character, a sparkly all-rounder who has thrived as an international cricketer by playing to the best of his strengths, revamping his game without shedding the essential characteristics that made Shane Warne herald the then 19-year old as a “rockstar”.
It’s hard to bracket Jadeja as a genuine Test all-rounder yet, for that designation also entails several other legends of the game who mastered both arts convincingly and accumulated mind boggling statistics over several years of play.
Jadeja has been one of the most improved international cricketers of this decade. He was raw and edgy when he first came, a fish out of water, struggling to fill in the missing pieces and unable to lift his game to the next level. A subject of various internet trolls, Jadeja’s relentless quest to improve oneself saw his transformation from a scrawny bits-and-pieces player to a muscular, hard-hitting bowling all-rounder. Others doubted him, but he never questioned his own ability. His fielding had always been impressive, and his bullet arm is still probably the best in business.
As a sample, here’s Jadeja, playing archery on the cricket field:
While his bowling as increased by leaps and bounds, his batting, forever questioned for its lack of dependency, provides spark to the lower order. Although he has three triple centuries to his credit in first-class cricket, Jadeja has managed just three fifty-plus scores in his entire 23 Test career. It isn’t the runs he scores, but the manner that makes him the team’s X-factor.
Also read: When MS Dhoni trolled ‘Sir’ Ravindra Jadeja
Here are five moments that stand out from Ravindra Jadeja’s seven-year career for the Indian team:
#5 vs Australia, Delhi Test (2013)
With Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha ruling the roost till 2013, there were question marks over Ravindra Jadeja’s place in the Test side. The Delhi Test against Australia breathed life into Jadeja’s dwindling Test career, and gave him the launchpad to become India’s premier spinner as Ashwin’s form dipped and Ojha’s career went downhill.
In the first innings, he played second fiddle to a rampant Ravi Ashwin ( 5 wickets), picking up a couple of victims. With the bat, he did what he does best, adding the extra crucial runs down the order to boost India’s total. With a slim lead in hand, India needed one of the bowlers to conjure something special. A galvanised Jadeja picked up five wickets, sending the Australian line-up in a tizzy. They huffed and puffed to 164, gifting India a small target which was usurped with six wickets to spare. A 4-0 whitewash was accomplished.