Jadeja is slowly providing true value to team
Tackling spin was on top of Australia's agenda when they arrived in India, but their focus would have been on Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha. But it is the diminutive Saurashtra all-rounder, Ravindra Jadeja, who is giving none other than Michael Clarke sleepless nights. N Ananthanarayanan reports. Rise of Jadejaindia Updated: Mar 16, 2013 02:33 IST
Tackling spin was on top of Australia's agenda when they arrived in India, but their focus would have been on Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha. But it is the diminutive Saurashtra all-rounder, Ravindra Jadeja, who is giving none other than Michael Clarke sleepless nights.
The 24-year-old got the Aussie skipper stumped first ball in the Mohali Test on Friday with one that pitched and spun away sharply, finishing as the best of the three spinners on view with three wickets.
Clarke is slowly turning out to be Jadeja's bunny as it is the fourth time that the dangerous batsman has fallen to him. Jadeja put it down to 'luck' but it is clear the world-class batsman is very uncomfortable facing Jadeja's left-arm spin.
In Chennai, Clarke miscued to be caught in the deep after scoring a brilliant hundred. In Hyderabad, he was bowled in both the innings. In Mohali, Jadeja removed opener David Warner and Clarke off successive deliveries to provide the initial breakthroughs on a pitch not half as threatening as in the first two Tests as yet.
Jadeja was modest. "It's happening like that, luckily when I'm bowling he's coming to bat and in this series I've got him four times. It feels good. His wicket is important for the team because if he scores, they get a big score."
Jadeja would not be playing Tests but for the faith reposed in him by skipper MS Dhoni, who sees him as the best substitute in the absence of a seam-bowling all-rounder. And Jadeja, who made his Test debut against England in Nagpur, has claimed 14 wickets in this series so far, only four behind Ashwin's tally.
The last 12 months have been a sort of roller coaster ride for Jadeja. He was snapped up in the 2012 Indian Premier League auction by the Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings, who shelled out $2 million and then an undisclosed sum to clinch a tie-break against the now-defunct Deccan Chargers. He was on a high.
But inconsistent performances followed and he was quickly dubbed over-rated and over-valued. He was dumped from the limited-overs squad and excluded for the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, reduced to ply his trade in the inter-district competition in Saurashtra. But Jadeja regained his confidence during home ODI series win over England.
Former India left-arm spinner Maninder Singh praised Jadeja's bowling on what was essentially a first day pitch. "It is clear he is growing in confidence, today he was the best," he told HT. "His line is brilliant, on and outside off-stump. And his round-arm action makes the incoming delivery very effective. Since he is so accurate, batsmen can't leave him."
The next challenge for Jadeja, a brilliant fielder and thrower, will be to prove his worth with the bat in Tests. That will help him get selected in Tests abroad where India often play only one spinner.