The downfall of Kedar Jadhav: What are his chances of playing for India again?
India's limited-overs specialist has shown inconsistency in recent times. What lies in the future for Kedar Jadhav?
In 2017, India found a very useful cricketer in the form of Kedar Jadhav. A powerful striker of the ball, Jadhav could bat at No.6, play those little cameos, and also chip in some handy overs with the ball having an uncanny knack of picking wickets.
In his career so far, Jadhav has played 40 ODIS and 9 T20Is for India. His ODI figures of 798 runs at an average of 40 striking at 109 are impressive while his T20 numbers (122 runs at an average of 20 and a strike rate of 123) are decent. He also has 2 hundreds in ODI cricket against his name.
Kedar had a great 2016-17 season and had almost cemented his place in the ODI team before his form started to decline. Soon, India's limited-overs superstar went off the boil, showing lack of consistency which started raising doubts over his place in the side. At this point of time, with youngsters coming through the ranks, Kedar’s place in the Indian team is under scrutiny. Is it the end of the road for Kedar Jadhav? Let us take a brief look at his ODI career so far.
The emergence of Kedar
For a long time, Kedar was a domestic veteran who was always on the fringes of Indian selection but could never make it through. It was in November 2014 that he was handed his maiden ODI cap against Sri Lanka.
Thereafter, he played a few odd games here and there but did not look like cementing his place in the Indian team for long. An opportunity opened up for him in October 2016 when Suresh Raina missed the New Zealand ODI series due to sickness.
Kedar could not let this golden chance go. He did all that was asked of him with the bat and slipped in some useful overs picking crucial wickets and proved his worth as a utility cricketer.
The ODI series at home against England in January 2017 was the turning point of Kedar's career. In the first game, he smashed a 76-ball 120 at Pune when India were reeling, and saw his team home in a memorable run-chase.
He followed it up with a 90 and a 20-odd cameo in the remaining games and bagged the man of the series award. In a very short period, Jadhav had taken giant strides in the international cricket arena and had established himself in the Indian ODI team.
The decline begins..
Kedar continued to play crucial knocks for India and bowl handy overs. There were few games where he bowled his entire quota of 10 overs and proved himself to be more than just a part-time off-spinner. After a good Champions Trophy and the ODI series in the West Indies and Sri Lanka, Kedar's purple patch started nearing its end.
During the 2017 home season, he failed to convert his starts into big knocks. Against Australia in the 5-match ODI series, he managed only one score of fifty and missed out on 3 good opportunities after he looked set for a big one.
Things worsened for him after he was dropped from India’s T20I side against New Zealand for failing to live up to the expectations in the ODI cricket. After missing the series against Sri Lanka, he was lucky to be on the board for the South Africa tour where he batted only in one game and scored a duck. His last appearance for India came on February 7, 2018, at Cape Town.
Reasons for his failure
His dismissals in one-day cricket have been very soft. Kedar has been very generous to gift his wicket away to the opposition. Temperament issues have always haunted him. It is very common to see him playing an outrageously dangerous shot even at 30/4. When it doesn’t come off, it looks very ugly. It is not the technique but the temperament that has haunted the pocket-sized dynamo.
Running between the wickets has been a big limitation for Kedar in his ODI career. While he has improved a lot, he still is not at par with someone like Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, or Hardik Pandya. Inability to steal quick singles means he has to play big often to keep his strike rate at par.
India have clearly sent the message that they are looking beyond Jadhav after dropping him from the playing XI in the South Africa ODI series. His axing from the T20 means he is in no contention in the shortest format.
With KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu fighting for the middle-order slots, it is going to be mighty difficult for Kedar to pave his way back into the Indian team.
His injury during the IPL 2018 which made him miss the season did not do any good to him either. Bowling cannot be the only thing that can help him hang by thread in the Indian side, as at the end of the day, it is the runs from the middle order batsman that matter.
It is too early to rule out his chances of featuring in the 2019 World Cup just yet. All he needs at the moment is a solid domestic season in 2018-19, scoring runs across all formats and a slice of luck. He is still recovering from the hamstring tear that he suffered during the IPL and has got plenty of time to recover before the home season.
However, if things don't work out, we may never see Jadhav in India colors again as age is not on his side and his chances of playing test cricket for India are too distant at the moment.