After a long time, a genuine all-rounder is doing the rounds in Indian cricket. You cannot miss Ravindra Jadeja, who is a live wire on the field when not bowling or batting. The 20-year-old left-hander from Saurashtra is fifth in the list of run-getters (729 runs at 72.90) and second in the wicket-takers list behind Mohnish Parmar with 39 sticks.
Excerpts from a chat with Jadeja ahead of Saurashtra’s Ranji semifinal against Mumbai:
How important has this season been for you?
It has been important because I've managed an all-round performance. My target is to play one more game of good cricket (here in the semifinal) after having got the opportunity. I wish to continue that form.
You are always active on the field, with bat, ball or while fielding. How do you do keep yourself busy all the time?
When batting, I try to concentrate 100 percent. If the ball is swinging or taking turn. I get used to the pitch and make adjustments accordingly. With the ball, if there is assistance to spinners, I flight it and try to maintain line and length. I try to give 100 percent every ball.
Was it tough growing up in a small centre like Jamnagar or Rajkot?
It was tough coming from a small centre. You have to first lay a platform. I played for India Under-19, in the IPL and went on India 'A' tours. I started gaining experience by playing against different players. With the U-19 trips, you get to know the overseas players. It has given me the confidence. Players have started emerging from Saurashtra and contributing to the team's success. We are realising the importance of playing Ranji Trophy and learn from its experience.
Would you consider yourself a full-fledged all-rounder?
Yes. In cricket, you have to excel in all departments. If you flop in one department, the confidence goes down. Being an all-rounder gives you the chance to come back and contribute in the other department.
Your approach the semifinal?
Last year, I did not play the semifinal as I was away for the under-19 World Cup. Saurashtra lost to Uttar Pradesh in the semis.
We have learnt from our past mistakes and look to play positive, disciplined cricket. If we give 100 per cent, we can win.