When he was a young cricketer impressing Shane Warne at Rajasthan Royals, Ravindra Jadeja was seen as a batsman who was a handy bowler.
Late last year, after he had gone through a few cycles of changing definitions, I asked him what he thought of himself, and he said that all through this little career he had always thought of himself as a batsman, but that he realised his bowling was valuable. Note that his instinct was to see
himself as a batsman.
But on day one of this Test, his bowling was more than just valuable, and he now looks more and more like he can be a frontline bowler at this level and, it must still be added, in these conditions. His greatest strength is his accuracy, and that is not a virtue to be taken lightly, for even occasional lapses can undo a lot of good work. With Jadeja you don't get much that is dramatic, but as a batsman you don't get too much to score either.
And if the pitch is a friend, as will be the case most days in international cricket in India, his virtue becomes a great gift. Here in Hyderabad, as in the second innings in Chennai, he showed wonderful, and yet subtle, variations in line without disturbing his natural length. And that was most in evidence in a set of four balls he bowled to Moises Henriques.
Almost stealthily, bowling from fairly wide off the stumps, the line kept drifting towards leg stump, and the fourth ball opened him up a bit and knocked top of off stump. If you had a play of the day, this would be it.
And so through his own effort, I suspect his role for a while will be that of a bowler who can contribute with the bat. It is a very good space for
him to be in.
Professional Management Group