Recently someone had fun with the Wikipedia page of Ravindra Jadeja and described him as “a philanthropist, a Nobel prize winner, a double Laureus sportsman of the year and the nearest human to being God”.
Poor Jadeja is the butt of jokes all over Twitter and Facebook and is also referred to as “Sir Ravindra Jadeja” in jest. It’s a simple matter for someone calling him that and the name going viral. But why does everyone love to hate this man so much?
Sometimes some things just stick to a cricketer no matter what he does in his life later on. For the hatred of Jadeja, you just have to go back to the 2009 T20 World Cup. India were the defending champions and were expected to win this time too.
In the Super 8s, we lost against the West Indies and had to win against England to stay alive in the tournament. Chasing a modest 154, India were in a bit of bother at 24-2 when Jadeja walked in. Instead of stepping up the pace, Jadeja pottered around dealing in mainly singles and dot balls as he made just 25 runs in 35 balls, which Virender Sehwag would find very slow even in a Test match.
In the end India lost by a mere 3 runs and the “Match ka mujrim” (Villain of the match) was declared to be Jadeja.
We lost to South Africa too after that by 12 runs as Jadeja again was the not out batsman with 7 runs off 6 balls. (He probably could have redeemed himself had he hit a couple of sixes in his 6 balls).
After that, Jadeja was declared “World Cup ka mujrim” (Villain of the World Cup) in the eyes of the fans and they probably expected him to be retired from cricket. But that didn’t happen as he continued to play T20s.
One has to say that he doesn’t have a good record. In 14 international T20s, his batting average is about 10 and he has picked up just 7 wickets. So imagine the surprise of fans when he was picked for the ODI team!
Now in 65 ODIs, Jadeja has a batting average of 30+ and has taken 70 wickets with 24 catches. If you follow ODIs, then you’ll realize that Jadeja is a pretty handy all-rounder and merits a place in the team. But many fans think otherwise.
More eyebrows were raised when he was picked in the Test team. To be fair to Jadeja, he has picked up 20 wickets in 4 Tests and hasn’t gone wicket less in a single innings and that’s pretty decent too. But then his lack of runs is picked upon!
His 2009 performance added to his allegedly being captain MS Dhoni’s favourite along with the CSK clique (BCCI chief N Srinivasan, captain Dhoni, players R Ashwin Murli Vijay, Jadeja and himself) means he is easy game for jokes of all sorts.
Now that Jadeja took 6 wickets in the Mohali Test and hit two fours to put us on the path to 3-0 when Sachin Tendulkar got out in a tense situation, it remains to be seen if people will let him off.
Another such poor victim is Rohit Sharma. Rohit has played a whopping 88 ODIs and has just one century against a top team with an average of 30. For most fans he has been given too long a rope and that’s enough to make fun of him.
He recently had a run of ODI scores of 5, 0, 0, 4, 4, 4. That definitely doesn’t help his cause.
In the pre-Twitter days we had Ravi Shastri.
It all began when someone said something to Mohammed Azharuddin while he walked out to bat. Azhar said something threateningly and raised his bat at the concerned spectator. Soon the crowd starting shouting: “Azhar hai hai, Azhar hai hai.”
In the next match Shastri was batting. Now anyone who watched Shastri in the 1980s knew that he batted either in the first or fourth gear, knowing nothing in between. That day he was super slow and soon the crowd took off from the previous match and started shouting: “Shastri hai hai, Shastri hai hai.”
It became a regular affair and the crowd would start whenever Shastri walked on the field. It was quite embarrassing for the talented all-rounder and sometimes the chanting continued even when he hit a boundary!
Of course, Shastri is still a star today and he is the toast of Twitter and Facebook status messages and spoofs thanks to his unique commentary style.
You might also know that Sourav Ganguly has a nickname called Maharaja. While it is used fondly today, it was a derogatory term in the early 1990s. It was first used by a BCCI official because Ganguly refused to certain tasks that a junior might do.
At one stage Mohinder Amarnath was also more famous for calling the selection committee a “Bunch of jokers”. Life came full circle for him when he missed becoming chief of selectors himself after trying to get Dhoni sacked.
Chetan Sharma was also known for quite some time for his last ball full toss that Javed Miandad hit for a 6 in 1986 at Sharjah that cost us the tournament. Life came full circle for him when the BCCI pulled out of Sharjah and he happened to be the next player to receive monetary benefits from the Sharjah cricketers’ fund had we continued playing!
Wicketkeeper Kiran More was known more for his monkeying around. Once he taunted Vivian Richards when he came to the crease. The great raised his bat against him in warning and faced disciplinary action from his board. There’s also the famous visual of Miandad jumping up and down in a tense Indo-Pak encounter imitating More!
Even in those days, Twitter and Facebook would have found more than enough topics to go viral!
The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/