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Former Indian selector feels Suresh Raina's comeback claim is put in jeopardy by Kedar Jadhav's performance

Surendra Bhave, a former national selector, lavished praise on Kedar Jadhav's "multi-skilled" display.

Kedar Jadhav
Kedar Jadhav was a revelation against New Zealand

Former national selector, Surendra Bhave, has opined that Kedar Jadhav's breakthrough series will make Suresh Raina's bid for a comeback tougher. Bhave, who was a part of India's selection committee from 2008-2012, including selecting  the World Cup cup winning 2011 squad, said that Jadhav is a "multi-skilled" player but will need match-winning performances with the willow to cement his spot.

"He does this with great mental strength [speaking of his bowling]. To be able to execute this at the international level is exceptional. He's a tough player," Bhave said. "To cement his position in the side, he will to have play a match-winning innings. So the job is cut out. We share a good relationship and I tell him this." 

Jadhav has shown that he can chip in for the team when needed by playing a crucial role with the ball in the series against the Kiwis. With Raina unavailable for selection after failing the fitness test, Jadhav is likely to get a prolonged run in the middle-order.

Also read: Reports: MS Dhoni may carry on playing until the 2019 World Cup in England

A part-time wicket-keeper, Jadhav finished the 2013-14 Ranji season as the highest run-getter with 1223 runs, including six centuries. But Dhoni and Kumble came up with a new plan to get some overs from Jadhav in the absence of a part-time bowler like Raina. Jadhav grabbed the opportunity with both arms and picked up 6 wickets with his off-breaks in the five games. Only Umesh Yadav and Amit Mishra had a higher wicket tally in the series. 

However, the former Maharashtra coach and ex-national selector, Surendra Bhave, who has seen Jadhav since his under-19 days, says that his bowling is not something developed overnight. 

"Kedar has always been a multi-skilled player. To be a good batsman, you need ball sense, but Kedar has taken that skill into his bowling as well. His ball sense and subtle speed changes have worked in his favour," said Bhave, who brought to light Jadhav's skill as a medium pace bowler too. "His round arm delivery and variations in pace does the trick. Even in the nets when he used to play for Maharashtra, he did this whenever he bowled and his prodigious swing attracted the attention of everyone.”

Jadhav started off his bowling career in International Cricket in the first ODI in Dharamsala, getting rid of Neesham and Santner in just his second over. In the third ODI in Mohali, he dismissed Kiwi skipper, Kane Williamson and added two more to record career best figures. Notably, Jadhav had only one wicket to his name in List A cricket before the start of the series.

Bhave rightly pointed out that Jadhav has delivered what was asked of him perfectly. He played two crucial cameos with the bat from no.6. In Delhi, a 37 ball 41 helped India past 200. And in the final ODI in Vizag, he showed he can handle death overs adeptly with a 37 ball 39. More than the runs, the stability he lents to the batting line-up makes him a worthwhile pick at 6.

"Kedar's performance will make it tough for Raina to return. But it depends on how many players are fit for selection and whether there are slots for these new guys, or will the big guns, who were rested, be automatically selected. Ask for a contribution and Kedar has delivered. He has done his bit," Bhave pointed out.

Raina, in spite of being picked in the initial ODI squad, did not feature in any of the games after suffering from viral fever. Jadhav took the opportunity to stake a claim for the no.6 spot which already has another competitor, apart from Raina, in Hardik Pandya. Jadhav's dual role in the series augers well for him when an England side, troubled by spinners from Bangladesh, visit India in November.

Also read: 5 Indian team rejects who have been performing well in this year's Ranji Trophy

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