Insider Tales: The visitors are losing sleep over Kedar Jadhav
8 pm, October 25, Ranchi
As you read this diary entry, Mike Hesson and Kane Williamson are probably sitting in a room inside their hotel in Ranchi, plotting methods to counter their biggest threat. That one individual who’s been the single biggest tormentor to the Kiwis in this ODI series. The unflappable match-winner for India; the man who can do no wrong at the moment.
No, it’s not that Virat Kohli. It’s not even MS Dhoni.
It is – wait for it – Kedar Jadhav.
I met Williamson and co. this morning. Kaney (That’s what I like to call the Kiwi skipper; we are chums from Tauranga Boys’ days) claims he could see Garfield Sobers in Kedar Jadhav. Does Jadhav look like an 80-year old with grey hair? I am not sure.
Ross Taylor was also there. He seemed to be headed towards a short net session, possibly looking forward to practising hitting spinners across the line.
Hesson told me Ross has been watching Kohli’s batting footage on YouTube. As Taylor left for the nets, he mouthed off B***n***d to a fan who mentioned to him his batting average in this series. Not sure how much of his focus is on Kohli’s batting when he watches those videos.
Anyways, coming back to Kiwi’s arch-nemesis – Jadhav. Kaney told me that his team is taking tips from him and Tom Latham on techniques to counter Jadhav. Tim Southee and Matt Henry were also there, sitting on their massage chairs (who wouldn’t need a good rub after that battering from Kohli and Dhoni?). I could see them discussing, in a hushed tone of course, that the two of them could play Jadhav better than most of their top order batsmen.
Jadhav has been a real pain in the backside for the visitors. He can take wickets, score runs, and even keep wickets if required. Is he the next greatest all-round cricketer in the history of the game? How can someone be so multi-talented? I am wondering whether his full name is Kedar Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Jadhav. I should check his passport the next time I meet him.
You've got to admit that it’s been a tough series for the visitors. If getting drubbed 0-3 in the Test series wasn't bad enough, then making Rohit Sharma look like a decent Test batsman made it even worse. And add to that the mauling they received the other day in Mohali. Poor Kiwis.
Maybe they are only good at sports involving brawny men such as rugby, and can’t really play a tranquil sport like cricket. Should I ask Kaney to maybe give kabaddi a try? I'll use my contacts to get them in touch with Ajay Thakur. Ross could also make good use of his command on Indian expletives there.
I was about to end my chat with Kaney, and as we were parting ways I threw a small joke at him (you know, for old chums’ sake) about how his cricket team is nicknamed after an oddly-shaped fruit. Kaney walked away giving me a look of bemusement. It was the look you usually give to your school teacher when she first introduces alphabets in mathematics.
I was about to leave the hotel lobby when Scott Styris walked by. It must be hard being Styris at the moment. The other day in Mohali, he made the least intelligent comment on air, even though he was in the company of Ravi Shastri.
As Styris was walking past me, I could see him muttering something regarding booking some flight tickets on the phone, but then he saw me and decided to stop for a quick chat. He tried to take a jibe at me, mocking how we journalists create stories out of nothing, like the one about him walking out of the commentary box in Mohali.
Being the witty journalist I was, I told him that it’s just what the doctor orders for media companies like ours. Both of us broke into a small laugh, also making a joke together on how all three results were possible in this ODI series.
Just as I was done meeting the players and was about to leave, I saw Latham running excitedly towards me in his training gear. He was shouting something repeatedly in Hindi as he rushed towards me. As he came closer, I heard him say, “Mahi maar raha hai, Mahi maar raha hai!” I guess he had just returned after watching India’s net session.
I gave him a smile, as I walked towards my hotel room, hoping to catch up on some old IPL games on YouTube.