The spotlight may have been on Virat Kohli and his phenomenal run-making abilities, having scored yet another double hundred, but this piece focuses on the lesser known cricketer who played a crucial role in taking India to the doorstep of victory. (LIVE BLOG)
The 27-year-old Jayant Yadav’s selection to the Indian team was tinged with a bit of controversy. Most questioned his inclusion in the playing XI at the cost of leggie Amit Mishra. Whatever the merits and demerits of dropping the in form Mishra may have been, Yadav could not be faulted for getting the India cap. (LIVE SCORECARD)
In an age where players announce their arrival in a flash while excelling in the IPL and getting noticed while bowling four overs or hitting a few sixes, Yadav is a throwback to an earlier era. IPL has not been the reason for his success, but the more demanding and strenuous structure of the domestic cricket at the heart of which is the Ranji Trophy championship.
Yadav, whose bowling arc and style are reminiscent of an age gone by, made his debut in first class cricket in 2011 for a state not known for producing too many international cricketers. Kapil Dev may be known as the Haryana hurricane, though he was not a thorough bred Haryanvi, having played and lived his life in Chandigarh. Yadav too lives in Delhi but turned out for Haryana and has made a solid impact, even though Lahli, the main cricketing centre of the state, has a wicket more conducive to pace than spin.
It is there that Yadav scored his first hundred, and got lessons in how to play on a difficult track. Not many would remember that he played against Alistair Cook’s team in 2011 at Ahmedabad and got four wickets which included the scalp of the England captain.
He has had the experience of playing with Virender Sehwag, when the maurading batsman decided to play for his home state Haryana, shifting from Delhi at the fag end of his career. Yadav, whose batting has the flavor of a man not unduly stressed by the pressures of the situation, is a hardboiled professional. In his very first Test, he came to bat in a difficult situation, but batted in a confident manner that revealed his tough mental side.
Yadav not overshadowed
Even in Mumbai, he came in to bat on Saturday when the loss of another wicket could have given England the advantage. The spotlight may have been on Virat Kohli but Yadav was not to be overshadowed. He played with supreme confidence, executing shots with the freedom of a seasoned pro, showing all the qualities of a man who responds to challenges in style.
Though it is his batting that has put him in the front, his bowling skills are no less. In a team that has Ravichandran Ashwin as the main bowler, Yadav’s off spin will always get underplayed as it would be an impossible task to match up to his far more illustrious teammate. Yet in the short spells we have seen him, he is no pushover. Though he has an unusual run-up to the wicket, his final delivery stride and the loop he gives to the ball would delight the purists. It is obvious the man is not the product of instant cricket, but he has all the ingredients of becoming a premier all-round player, much like Ashwin has developed into.
India is lucky to have discovered a cricketer of Yadav’s talent and intent, someone who proves that there is still no substitute for a hard, long apprenticeship in domestic cricket’s long format.