Stretching a tasteless chewing gum- The Ravindra Jadeja Saga

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Ravindra Jadeja
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Ravindra Jadeja. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Stretching a tasteless chewing gum- The Ravindra Jadeja Saga: Sir Ravindra Jadeja, as he is known by everyone in the country seems to be on a long vacation as he does not seem to score runs and take wickets as he used to do a few months back. The left-arm spinner Jadeja has three triple centuries in first class cricket and is often ridiculed for this reason as he fails to make a strong impact in international cricket. He made his way on to the international scene after a standout domestic season in 2008-09 where he amassed 739 runs and took 42 wickets. The selectors were impressed by his performances and he showed immense talent and ability to take forward the legacy he had created in the domestic circuit. He has played some very important matches for India and has also contributed with bat and ball equally, but the legacy of ‘Sir’ seems to fade away with passing time.

Jadeja is known for his left-arm spin and his big shots lower down the order by which he had impressed one and all. His athleticism in the field completes the package of an all-rounder. Dhoni usually calls him to bowl to get a break-through and create pressure by bowling tight line and length. To show the strength of their partnership, Dhoni keeps on suggesting him what to do and what not, where not to bowl from behind the stumps and this encourages him endlessly. It has been seen that, captain-cool keeps on talking with him and backs him even when he’s feeling the heat while bowling. While batting, he usually comes at no 6 or 7, according the performance of the top order and middle order batsmen. He does not take much time to settle down and hits the ball fearlessly out of the park and scores quick runs for the team. With brilliant efforts on the field, he receives all the deserving praise and keeps a sound environment in the dressing room.

The 26-year-old had scored merely 57 runs in 9 matches and has taken 8 wickets in the World Cup. His bowling seemed to lose touch and he remained wicket-less in few matches and his batting did not justify him a place in the squad either. Jaddu was given many chances by the captain who still had faith in him and wanted his all-rounder to give his best but somehow it did not look possible for him to do so as he used to do earlier. We even saw Dhoni go over to him and explain what he was supposed to do, but to no avail. Dhoni was eventually forced to say that: “He needs to improve and needs to step up really. We have a lot of faith in him but at the end of the day you can’t really play with hope,”

The same form continued in the IPL where he contributed 132 runs in 17 matches and was able to take 11 wickets. He did not get many chances to do it for the Chennai Super Kings in this season but, he did not look comfortable in the middle and feared to be lost in his own world while bowling. With another all-rounder in the form of Irfan Pathan warmed the bench for the whole season, Jaddu, kept on getting chance after chance in the playing XI.

His confidence was low and he was not able to deliver anything close to his best, but the faith of the captain gave him the freedom of performing howsoever in the whole tournament. It was similar in the World Cup as well; Axar Patel, a well deserved youngster would have got a chance to play at his place but Dhoni had the gut feeling that he would perform but his slump did not end. Crushing everyone’s expectations, Jadeja is yet to find his form and needs to perform in domestic cricket as he has been left behind from the squad for lone test match in Bangladesh.

Jadeja needs to look after his performances to analyse his bowling and batting and ensure that he isn’t pushed over from the one-day team as well. There are many potential all-rounders who are eagerly waiting for a chance to prove their mettle at the international level, to play and cement their place in the team. Even Dhoni would not be persistent with Jaddu if he continues with his current form. The talent others posses should not be wasted by just making them to serve the energy drinks in breaks. For Jadeja to get his knighthood back he must build up the confidence in him and back his instincts, focus on the basics, train hard and play domestic cricket. It is not sacking a player from the team, but a wakeup call for him to go back to home, get his rhythm, form and mindset correct to be in the frame and plane of playing the most competitive level of cricket.

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