Jalaj Saxena, Kerala’s hero is performing tirelessly with little recognition

Jalaj Saxena, Kerala’s hero is performing tirelessly with little recognition

He has won the BCCI award for the best all-rounder in domestic cricket thrice in the last four years and that of the best bowler once.

Jalaj Saxena
Jalaj Saxena. (Photo Source: Twitter)

There were and are players in the domestic circuit who, despite scaling great heights, never gets that much-awaited call to the national team. One such name is Jalaj Saxena. The 31-year-old all-rounder who is from Indore, Madhya Pradesh, is currently playing for Kerala, has done it all in the domestic tournaments since making his debut for MP in 2005.

In the ongoing Ranji Trophy season, Mumbai’s Shivam Dubey has caught the headlines for his all-round performance and especially the praise from former great Sunil Gavaskar has done him even more favour. But Jalaj, too, has been performing with both the bat and ball in the tournament but his name has not found much of a mention in such discussions. Jalaj, whose brother Jatin is also a first-class cricketer, has taken 17 wickets and slammed two hundreds and one fifty in four matches for Kerala already.

He has over 5,800 runs in first-class cricket with 14 tons and 280 wickets with 16 five-wicket hauls – figures that will qualify him as a top-class all-rounder. In the 2015-16 season of Ranji Trophy, Jalaj scored 588 runs and took 49 scalps. In the 2017-18 season, he scored 522 runs and claimed 44 wickets – the most by any bowler in the season.

He has won the BCCI award for the best all-rounder in domestic cricket thrice in the last four years and that of the best bowler once. Yet, Jalaj has found himself little in the reckoning for international exposure. Even he has featured little for India ‘A’ or side teams that play visitors. One of his rare chances to play a visiting side came in 2013 when he played Australia and responded with a four-wicket haul.

Jalaj though never ignores his job in hand. The man who plays in the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association First-Division League where he represented Young Stars for two seasons before getting roped in by Jolly Rovers this year, is looking to continue with his excellent form in Ranji in his side’s next game against Tamil Nadu starting December 6 in Chennai.

Jalaj thanks TNCA league

“The league here has made a big difference to my cricket. It is competitive, excellently run, and you get to learn and contribute a lot,” Sportstar quoted Jalaj as saying on Tuesday about the TNCA league.

“They have not had a good run in the first half of the season but everyone knows Tamil Nadu is a very good side. The experience of having played here will help me.”

Kerala are sitting on top of the Elite Group B with 13 points from four games with two wins while Tamil Nadu are yet to win a game from four games and have five points.

Speaking about his bowling Jalaj, who has a high-arm action, said, “My stock delivery, the off-spinner, is my strength. Only then come the variations.”

On his batting, the player with a yo-yo score of 17-plus, added: “And as a top-order batsman I like playing my strokes. I also strive to construct an innings.”

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