In a decade-long international career, the 31-year-old has often come under the microscope, especially in limited overs cricket. However, as Jadeja’s batsman turned a new leaf with his innings in Manchester, his critics who called him a ‘bits and a piece of cricket’ were silenced.
Since Jadeja looks more confident and measured in the crease, the Indian team has begun to play the role they have been yearning for. Getting to bat down the order is no mean job. But his consistency in that position has improved in ODIs over the past year.
On Wednesday in Canberra, he stepped up his game to another level. It’s not just the 66 runs he scored from 50 balls that make the team happy, but the way they scored.
Virat Kohli fell to 152 for five in India’s five-wicket haul. An example of Sean Abbott throwing in his shot-selection and execution, especially in the 48th over.
Jadeja’s long-time mentor, MS. Dhoni credits them. “He (Dhoni) has a set pattern, he tries to develop a partnership with what batsman he is playing, and once he is set, he looks to play big shots. Jadeja said in the program.
Seeing the rise of Jadeja, Seethanshu Kotak, first as a player and then as coach in Saurashtra, is happy that the Jamnagar boy has realized his true potential. “You may think that he has improved as a batter when he is playing IPL this season. Jadeja has matured as a player and it shows in his performance.
Bowling Farm Dips
However, the rise of Jadeja’s batting fortunes in ODIs has seen his bowling form decline. Though he has been bowled by a restricted wicket, wickets are hard to come by in the middle overs and this has affected the performance of the Indian team. In fact, in the three-match ODI series that has just concluded in Australia, Jadeja has the wicket of Aaron Finch in the final to be shown, and just seven wickets from nine matches at an average of 67.42 in the calendar year
However, in Test match cricket, Jadeja has found a fine balance between his run-scoring and wicket-taking abilities. If they can replicate it to white-ball cricket, it will not only help their cause but will also host the T20 World Cup with India in less than a year.