"He is favoured by MS Dhoni and that’s why he is in the team."
"His bowling in Tests is only effective on dry, dusty, turning wickets at home, especially on Day 4 or Day 5."
"As a batsman, he has no real talent. For an all-rounder, his batting style gives no hope especially when India need quick runs in limited-overs cricket."
“Okay granted… he is a good fielder but one can’t make an international team just on the basis of that skill. It’s not that he is taking 3-5 catches every match or effecting 2-3 run-outs."
“Oh yes, he is Dhoni’s pal because nothing else can justify his presence in the team. Out-and-out Dhoni’s Yes Man.”
Ravindra Jadeja was the targeted man not long ago at a time when Dhoni was calling the shots in Indian cricket and captained in all three formats. When the wicket-keeper batsman retired from Tests in late 2014 during the Australia tour, Jadeja’s time appeared up too in the format.
But more than Tests, where he could unleash some devastating bowling spells in India now and then, actually he was needed to be done away with from the limited overs format. And when Dhoni left limited overs captaincy in early 2017 and the way new captain Virat Kohli, then coach Anil Kumble treated him -- a little disfavourably -- most fans waited for “Sir” Jadeja to disappear as most British-backed royalties did in India at the time of Independence.
But hell, no! 2020 is knocking on the door and Jadeja is still with the team playing all formats… the only difference being today he is hailed a hero having brought a miraculous improvement in all aspects of his game.
Who would have thought it?
So what led to this? It’s simple: with Dhoni’s protection not available anymore; he had to fend for himself knowing if he didn’t improve soon he will be history. So one can safely say the decline of Dhoni has led to the rise of Jadeja. And believe it or not, as Dhoni is also losing his relevance fast with the selectors having decided to move on from him at last, Jadeja is taking his game to an unimaginable, magical level.
In his first 12 Tests, Jadeja had hit just one fifty. Post-Dhoni in Tests, he has scored one century and 13 fifties in 36 Tests. In the ongoing ICC Test Championship, he averages close to 60 in seven games batting lower down the order. If that’s not miracle, what is? While previously he looked hopeless at the crease, today, it appears, he walks in with nothing but a hundred on mind.
As regards his bowling he has gone from strength to strength and has recently completed his 200 wickets. In India’s historic Test series win in Australia in 2018-2019, Jadeja played a key role especially in the Melbourne Test where he took five match-winning wickets, after which he scored 81 in Sydney in India’s huge score and the Aussies had all hopes of a win and drawing the series totally dashed right in front of them.
In the 50-overs World Cup earlier this year… he almost won Indians the trophy by smashing 77 off 59 balls against New Zealand in the semifinal. Even though India lost the game largely on account of a batting mishap, that match well and truly reflected that Jadeja was now out of Dhoni’s shadow and could take on the world on his own.
Ravindra Jadeja in numbers
|Tests||Runs||Average/Highest score||Wickets||Best match figures|
|48||1844||35.46/100*||211 @ 35.46 average||10/154|
|159||2188||31.20||189 @ 4.89 Economy rate||5/36|
On Sunday evening (December 22) against the West Indies was another example of how far Jadeja has come. Chasing 316 to win, when India lost Virat Kohli as sixth wicket in the 47th over still needing 30 more runs, many thought the game had got over for the home team. But with the “improved” Jadeja around, it turned out a totally different result in the end as the all-rounder helped the team go over the line comfortably, unbeaten on 39 off 31 balls. What’s more is that coincidentally Jadeja’s innings has come right on the eve of Dhoni celebrating 15 years in international cricket.