Ravindra Jadeja’s career-best bowling performance in Chennai propelled him to the second spot in the International Cricket Council’s rankings for Test bowlers on Wednesday. He sits behind India’s top off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
According to the International Cricket Council, this is only the second time the top two spots in the bowlers’ rankings have been occupied by Indians.
The first time was when legendary left-arm spinner Bishan Singh Bedi and leg-spinner Bhagwath Chandrasekhar were ranked one and two in 1974.
Ravindra Jadeja recorded his best bowling performance in an innings by taking 7/48 on Tuesday which paved the way for India’s biggest win against England by an innings and 75 runs. Jadeja’s previous best figures were 6/138 against South Africa in Durban in 2013-14.
On Tuesday, the slow left-arm spinner from Saurashtra also took a match haul of 10/154, his best bowling figures in a Test surpassing an 8/46 against South Africa at Mohali in 2015-16.
Jadeja’s performance has earned him 66 ICC rankings points and brought him within eight points of Ravichandran Ashwin, who has 887 points. Another left-arm spinner, Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath is ranked third with 867 points. Jadeja finished with 26 wickets in the five-match series versus England which India won 4-0. Ashwin bagged 28 wickets.
Jadeja’s rearguard batting, especially his 90 in Mohali and 51 in Chennai, also helped him gain one place and reach a career-best third rank on the list of ICC Test all-rounders. Here too, Jadeja sits behind top ranked Ashwin and second-placed Shakib-Al Hasan of Bangladesh.
“With his accurate bowling, Jadeja brings balance to the side. He can bowl in any conditions. He doesn’t have too many variations, but he made the batsmen think with his accuracy about how long they can defend,” said Kohli at the post-match media conference on Tuesday.
Former skipper Sourav Ganguly too heaped praise on Jadeja, saying the 28-year-old is one of the best bowlers in the subcontinent.
“He (Jadeja) is lethal on slow turning pitches in the subcontinent. I think he is one of the best,” said Ganguly.
Ganguly felt one of the good things about the series was the fact that none of the wickets doled out in the series was a rank turner.
“These were pitches which did not have turn and we lost four tosses but still managed to win four back-to-back Test matches which is remarkable,” Ganguly added.
Skipper Alastair Cook admitted one of the reasons why England failed to repeat their performance of 2012 when they beat India 2-1, was the fact that his spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, did not match up to their Indian counterparts.
“These conditions have tested us to our limits and I really don’t want to be disrespectful to Mo and Adil but they are not as good as Ashwin and Jadeja yet,” Cook said after his team’s dismal show in the series.
Incidentally, Jadeja dismissed Cook six times in this series. It was the most a bowler has dismissed England skipper in any Test series. Cook averaged just 12.50 runs in the series against the slow left arm orthodox bowler.
Bedi too has praised the Indian spin duo.
“Both Jadeja and Ashwin will continue to do well at home. But I would like to see them doing well in countries like South Africa. Doing well there would be the ultimate challenge,” the former India captain had said before the series.
This challenge though will come in 2018 when India tour South Africa towards the beginning of the year and then England in May-June followed by Australia in November-December.
Till then, the juggernaut is likely to roll and India will stay high.