Before the fourth ball of the 86th over of England’s second innings on Monday, Jayant Yadav rated Alastair Cook as his most prized scalp. The Haryana off-spinner had dismissed the England captain in a tour game at Ahmedabad in 2012. He returned to castle first innings centurion Kevin Pietersen for duck in the second essay to cap a successful match.
A lot has changed since then. Alastair Cook became a run machine, and the period also witnessed the rise of Ravichandran Ashwin.
Before the fourth ball of the 86th over, the previous ones landed on good length and were defended by Ben Stokes. The next one left Jayant Yadav’s hand faster, the trajectory flatter and the length full enough. Stokes went back instinctively, but the ball spun past and rattled the stumps.
The dream began 16 summers back in Delhi’s Vasant Vihar. Jai Singh Yadav’s eldest son was a quiet, unassuming boy who wanted to play cricket. “He played for his school, DPS Vasant Kunj, and was hard working,” Yadav Sr . told HT.
He took the eight-year-old to Ravinder Paul Sharma, who coached kids at the Harbaksh Stadium in Delhi Cantonment.
“I emphasise on fielding. If you field well, your reflexes improve which in turn help your batting and bowling,” said Sharma.
It may hold true for Jayant Yadav, whose athletic run out of Haseeb Hameed in England’s first innings began the visitors’ slide. He then trapped Moeen Ali leg before as his maiden Test scalp. All through the match, Jayant bowled well in tandem with Ashwin, and made good use of his height to generate drift and flight.
“I have always told him to bowl traditional off-breaks,” said Sharma.
“He had a high-arm action, so I encouraged him to flight the ball. Earlier, he used to bowl a lot of faster ones. I worked on reducing his pace. His bowling arm now comes a lot closer to his right ear, which is a good sign. His strength is bowling consistently on the fourth or fifth stump line and turning the ball into the right hander.”
Jayant showed he is no pushover with the bat, scoring runs in both innings. His 42-run tenth-wicket stand with Mohammed Shami ensured India’s lead went past 400.
“He can be a good lower-order bowling all-rounder for India. His temperament is good,” said Sharma.
It is tough to predict if and when Jayant will be tried out again, but the 26-year-old will not forget the fourth ball of the 86th over in a hurry.