Ravindra Jadeja may not be the ‘perfect all-rounder’ M.S. Dhoni is looking for, but he’s for sure not one of the several part-timers trying to pass off as one. That his showings in Sunday’s super thriller earned him the Man-of-the-Match award ahead of the near-perfect all-round performance by Jacques Kallis, the master of the trade, is but a small indicator of his potential and promise.
What gives a better picture of his all-round abilities is his consistent performance, especially with the ball, in the last three series prior to the current one. Everyone knew he could bat — he has a double-century and three centuries to his credit in first-class cricket and has an average of 33.3 in ODIs, a decent average for a number seven batsman — but it’s his consistent showing with the ball that has caught the eye.
Even as more established bowlers have leaked runs in excess or close to six runs per over in the last three series (home series against Australia and Sri Lanka, and a tri-series in Bangladesh), Jadeja has not only picked wickets, he has also been rather economical.
The best performance came on Sunday, of course. “ There was not much turn in the track, so I thought I would bowl on their pads. I thought, even if I don’t get wickets, I would not concede runs,” he said.
On Sunday, he also showed he doesn’t need tailor-made conditions to go about his business. Given that he produced his match-winning performance in such conditions, where Dhoni thought a specialist spinner would be a liability, speaks volumes about his effort.
Jadeja didn’t get overawed when asked to bowl in the powerplays. “I just kept it stump-to-stump in powerplays.” Having won two Man-of-the-Match awards in the 20 ODIs he has played so far, largely for his showing with the ball, Jadeja now wants his bat to the talking. “On two occasions, I have done the job with the ball, but I am looking forward to winning matches with the bat as well,” he said.
His growing all-round abilities will also calm down his skipper a bit, who’s sounding quite desperate to have a ‘perfect all-rounder’ like Kallis in the team. Until that ‘perfect all-rounder’ arrives, it won’t hurt to have Jadeja, with all his little imperfections, in that slot.
Sehwag doubtful for Gwalior ODI
Virender Sehwag’s availability for the second ODI to be held in Gwalior on Wednesday became doubtful after he developed a sore back while batting in the first ODI at Jaipur. The opener didn’t come out for the fielding later. Rajan Nair, the media manager, said the scans of his back revealed that he was fine. However, the doubts still persisted over his fitness and availability for the Gwalior ODI.