Former Chennai Super Kings (CSK) left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati recently opened up about team captain MS Dhoni's smart plan to dismiss Sachin Tendulkar in the final of the 2010 Indian Premier League (IPL) season.
Chasing 169 to win the IPL 2010 crown, the Mumbai Indians (MI) weathered the early loss of Shikhar Dhawan to be placed at 95/3, with captain Tendulkar batting on 44. Shadab Jakati had conceded 20 runs in his first two overs, but the CSK skipper persisted with him for the 15th over.
The move turned out to be a masterstroke. Although Tendulkar hit Jakati for a boundary off the first ball, the Master Blaster was caught at long-off off the very next delivery. Shadab Jakati would go on to take another wicket in the same over, derailing the MI chase as they eventually fell short by 22 runs.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Shadab Jakati spoke at length about his successful IPL career among a number of other fascinating topics. When asked about the famous wicket of Sachin Tendulkar, the 40-year-old explained the careful planning that went on behind the scenes.
"When Mahi bhai brought me on in the powerplay, there was Abhishek Nayar, a left-hander, and Sachin. They were chasing 168 and I went for a few runs in my first couple of overs. It was planned by Dhoni, and he wanted me to come and take the main wicket of Sachin. Sachin was batting so well, and if he was there at the crease anything was possible. So for us, his wicket was very crucial."
Shadab Jakati added that MS Dhoni outlined what had to be done, not only taking CSK to the cusp of their first-ever IPL title but also handing him a cherished wicket.
"And when I came in to bowl, Mahi bhai told me, 'Look to deceive him in the flight. He might look to step out and hit you over covers or long-off.' He gave me that hint, I saw him coming out and altered my length and line slightly. Sachin mistimed it and was caught at long-off by Murali (Vijay). I will always cherish that wicket, because we planned it and executed it really well. That wicket actually got us one step closer to our IPL 2010 victory."
"Mahi bhai liked spinners and always backed us" - Shadab Jakati
Shadab Jakati is well known for his stint with CSK, but he also turned out for Virat Kohli's Royal Challengers Bangalore and Suresh Raina's Gujarat Lions. He lauded the leadership of all three skippers, and illustrated the differences in their style.
"They're all different. Mahi bhai liked spinners, and always backed us. Virat Kohli liked good attacking fast bowlers, maybe because RCB play a number of games at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Suresh Raina was quite similar to Dhoni by being calm and backing his players. They're all totally different captains, but they have proven themselves and given results for the national side and for the franchises."
The influence of spinners on white-ball cricket has always been paramount, but finger-spinners - especially left-arm spinners - have struggled to keep up with the times recently. Shadab Jakati pointed out that spinners must always look to provide breakthroughs and rued the effect the T20 format has had on bowlers of his kind.
"As a spinner, I believe you always have to be attacking and pick up wickets. There are a lot of batting-friendly wickets, so spinners tend to undercut the ball. That's why they're not able to get purchase and rip from the wicket. We play a lot of shorter formats, which makes spinners bowl flat and defensively."
But Shadab Jakati is no stranger to stepping up to the plate in conditions that weren't ideal. In the 2009 IPL, which was held in South Africa, he announced his arrival on the world stage by scalping 4-wicket hauls in each of his first two stints with the ball for CSK.
"I was working very hard. In 2009, I knew that it was the end of the cricket season in South Africa so the wickets were a little more helpful than usual. We didn't start well, we lost 4-5 games in a row. That's where I got the chance to bowl alongside Muralitharan. I was bowling really well, and I backed my strengths - to put spin on the ball and turn it."
Shadab Jakati, who retired from all forms of cricket in December 2019, holds an indelible place in the history of CSK. In 50 IPL matches for the Men in Yellow, the spinner claimed 46 wickets at a very respectable economy rate of 7.75. When asked about his stellar CSK career, Jakati thanked Dhoni and the support staff for backing him.
"A lot of credit goes to Dhoni, the way he used me in those conditions, apart from the support staff and administration. It was a wonderful experience, and when we came back to Chennai in later editions of the IPL it was helpful. Mahi bhai has always liked spinners, and it was me, Muralitharan and Ashwin. It was good that the captain backed the spinners, and it was wonderful that I contributed to CSK's success."
CSK's glory days are still fresh in memory, but the 3-time champions have hit a stumbling block of late. With a number of players over the age of 30 and not active in the international circuit, the team failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time ever last year.
However, Shadab Jakati, who has a keen understanding of how the franchise functions, is confident of CSK doing well in IPL 2021.
"They have a decent side, with Suresh Raina coming back to the team. They majorly missed Raina at No. 3 last year because he guides the whole batting. They have signed Robin Uthappa. I'm really looking forward to seeing Dhoni in action this year, he seems to be confident and hitting the ball well in the nets. I think CSK will have a good season."