Why Kedar Jadhav deserves a place in the Indian team for the 2019 World Cup
Kedar Jadhav has been a late bloomer with his first game for India coming at the age of 29 and although he became a regular at 31 years old, he has been in pretty good form for India lately.
During the recently concluded India-Australia series, Jadhav delivered a couple of good performances that included a half-century in the 4th ODI at Bangalore - although that was eventually was in a losing cause. The 32-year old performed well with the ball in the final ODI too, as he bowled an economical spell of 1/48 from his 10 overs to take the key wicket of Steve Smith.
Jadhav’s performances have been pretty good lately and he sure has made himself a frontrunner for a place in the team for the 2019 World Cup in England.
However, questions are bound to be asked whether Jadhav has what it takes to be in the squad for the World Cup with the likes of Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh still having some firepower left and youngsters like Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, and Karun Nair in the fray. Here is why Kedar Jadhav should be in the squad for the 2019 World Cup.
A balanced batting style
From the 34 ODIs that Kedar Jadhav has played for India so far, one thing is definitely clear that he can bat as per the situation. We have seen Jadhav display the ability to accelerate the scoring rate, and finishing off matches on many occasions like his quick-fire 120 from 76 deliveries against England at Pune, and also his 90 off 75 later in the same series at Kolkata which India narrowly lost.
Another innings where Jadhav elevated India’s run-rate was during their match against Zimbabwe, where he smashed 105 off just 87 deliveries and helped India reached a total of 276/5 from 82/4.
However, lately, we have also seen Jadhav batting steadily but in a manner that reflects saving his wicket and getting runs in ones and twos rather than going for fours and sixes.
One such incident came very recently in the 4th ODI between India and Australia where he scored 67 from 69 deliveries and didn not take too many risks during the death overs when the asking rate was high.
That day, it led to a loss for India and he did not bat according to the situation, but this kind of innings can definitely help him in the longer run when he will be needed to save his wicket - but that is provided the middle-order crumbles under pressure.
Another innings where Jadhav held his nerve was his 73-ball 63 against Sri Lanka at Colombo a month ago.
A more than handy part-time bowler
Jadhav showed his abilities as a part-time bowler during India’s ODI series against New Zealand at this time last year where he took a total of six wickets from three matches, going wicket-less in the fourth ODI and not bowling in the final game.
In the first game, the RCB player took two wickets from three overs and conceded only 6 runs. He followed this with 1/11 at Delhi but his best bowling of the series came during the third ODI when he took 3/29 at Mohali.
Jadhav also bowled an economical spell of 2/22 from 6 overs during the Champions Trophy semi-final against Bangladesh and came up with a few wickets during the Sri Lanka series as well, taking three throughout the series.
Most recently, the 32-year old bowled an economical spell at Nagpur against Australia where his economy rate up till his 9th over was below four before he conceded 13 runs from his final over.
A part-time bowler like Jadhav who can always spring up with a wicket or two will help India immensely during the World Cup and will fortify their bowling department.
A perfect replacement for Yuvraj and Raina
Not so long back, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina were regulars in the Indian middle-order but both are currently out of the team. While Raina can still have a chance to make it to the T20 team in the near future, he is not a good fit in the ODI team anymore.
Following the 2015 World Cup, Raina’s performances were quite inconsistent as he averaged 21.5 from 8 games.
He had one last chance to come back to the ODI setup during the New Zealand series but he fell ill and Jadhav, his replacement then, seized the opportunity in the best way possible by performing pretty good with both bat and ball.
As far as Yuvraj Singh is concerned, his performances in the Champions Trophy (barring his 50 against Pakistan) and during the West Indies tour weren’t very convincing, and the player does not have age on his side, which has impacted his overall fitness.
Additionally, with the fact that he hasn’t been named among the top 74 players in the country, his chances of making the ODI team are even less than Raina’s.
As of now, Kedar Jadhav is well set to make the squad for the 2019 World Cup and provided he continues his good form with both bat and ball, he will definitely be on the plane to England two years from now, age notwithstanding.