Ravindra Jadeja is a true fighter who will never shies away from accepting a challenge. Besides, his exceptional fielding skills and consistent bowling make Jadeja one of the most valuable players of Virat Kohli’s team in the shorter formats of the game. Jadeja sure knows how to wield the willow and is a livewire in the field.
“Jadeja’s batting and fielding is so good that if he doesn’t succeed with the ball that goes unnoticed.” Kapil Dev had said recently in praise of the all-rounder. Being someone who has scored 3 triple centuries at the first-class level, Jadeja sure knows how to wield the willow.
But somehow he has not been able to realise his true potential as a batsman at the highest level of cricket. He is a much better batsman than what his records have to say. He averages 31.89 in ODIs and in T20Is his average is 12.36.
Perhaps one of the reasons for his underwhelming performance as an international batsman is the fact that he never had the cushion of a settled or permanent position in the Indian batting line-up.
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Well-defined role as a number seven batsman
But since 2019, Jadeja seems to be relishing the role of the number seven batsman. He has shown consistency with the bat, something which was missing from his batting earlier, achieving the milestone of fifty-plus scores more frequently.
Also, the Indian think tank has made sure that Jadeja’s role in the batting line-up is well defined. It certainly helps the left-hander to approach his batting with an uncluttered mind which is reflecting on his performance.
Batting at number seven comes with its own set of challenges
However, the number seven batting position comes with its own set of challenges. It is not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination. First and foremost one must be able to bat according to the situation of the game.
It is a tricky thing as at times the match situation may demand the number seven batsman to use the long handle right from the word go. While on other occasions the situation could demand an exactly opposite approach from the batsman.
So, it is clear that only a street smart cricketer who can read the game situation and adjust his game accordingly will fit the bill.
A crucial aspect of the modern-day cricket
The ability to forge partnerships with tail-enders also counts. However, in modern-day cricket, the term tail-ender is no longer used in a negative sense. These days almost anybody in the playing eleven can bat.
Lower-order batsmen have started to play a major role these days. Particularly in the shorter formats. A quick-fire 50-60 runs lower down the batting order can turn the game on its head.
It is indeed a crucial aspect of the modern-day game. Jadeja has enough experience under his belt to guide tail-enders to bat as per the situation demands in a match.
Never say die attitude
Jadeja has seen a lot of highs and lows in his career. But he has the uncanny ability to rise from the ashes like a phoenix. In September 2018 he made a dramatic comeback to the Indian team after a gap of more than a year with a 4-wicket haul!
There have been occasions when many cricket pundits had written off Jadeja as a 'bits and pieces' cricketer. But the Saurashtra left-hander made those naysayers eat their own words courtesy strong, superlative performances on the field.
This never-say-die attitude of Jadeja makes him an asset in shorter formats. Since more often than not, the odds are stacked heavily against a batsman who comes in to bat the number seven position.
He is now a vital cog of the Indian team in all three forms of the game and it has got to do with his winning attitute that we find them in the position he is in.
Published 13 Feb 2020, 12:48 IST