There is a certain cockiness one attaches to Ravindra Jadeja. After all, the spinning all-rounder was nicknamed ‘rockstar’ by none other than Shane Warne. However, he has also been the subject of many internet jibes, Sir Jadeja being the most common title. While all this whipped up hype, his inability to deliver as an all-rounder saw him cast aside.
Although the Mohali pitch was tailor-made for spin bowling, Jadeja’s Test comeback was quite sensational, and his focus with the bat and ball was there for all to see. Moments after spinning India to victory on Saturday, Jadeja was quite happy to talk about his time away from the India set-up.
Dropped in June after the Bangladesh tour, one would have expected the player to talk about his struggle and the work he had to put in to make such a triumphant return. However, Jadeja used the spare time to first take his mind off the game, and discover enjoyment.
“I thought with time in hand, I should do a little bit of horse riding. Toh do mahine ghode chala raha tha (was riding horses for the first two months in his farm). Then with Ranji Trophy approaching, I started my routine of fitness and practice,” Jadeja told reporters.
The all-rounder has been on a roll since October. In the five-day matches, four of them Ranji outings for Saurashtra, and this Test, Jadeja has taken 46 wickets.
He kept the news conference lively with his frank views, be it describing the Rajkot wickets as worse than Mohali, or why the Proteas batsmen struggled against spin. “It’s nice to bowl in home conditions. The ball was turning, and this gives the bowler confidence. The wickets at Rajkot were worse than what we had here.”
Jadeja, who triggered the rout with the wicket of Vernon Philander, pointed out South Africa’s inexperience.
“The plan was to keep things simple and play good cricket. The ball was turning and we just had to keep it in the right areas. And when a partnership was going, my plan was simply to restrict the scoring to create pressure.”