NEW DELHI: Last year, during the India-South Africa Test at Ferozeshah Kotla, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers were involved in a marathon effort to save the Test. With the pitch not turning square, it was Ravindra Jadeja who found a chink in the armour and triggered SA’s downfall. Jadeja was accurate and a couple of his deliveries broke from the surface to give India the edge at Kotla, the hosts winning the series 3-0.
After that, Jadeja has had a tough time. In Australia, he played five ODIs and got just three wickets. In the IPL, he has had a quiet time with the ball for the Gujarat Lions. In the last 10 games, skipper Suresh Riana has used him sparingly, and in some matches he hasn’t even completed his quota.
Jadeja has enjoyed success on sub-continent pitches where he gets sharp deviation off the wicket. For the Lions, he was expected to step up but his eight wickets narrate a sad story.
Jadeja has fed the batsmen not only because he has bowled at over 100kph, he also has problems with his line. At Delhi, against the Daredevils, he was hit for 15 runs in his only over. His overall economy rate might be 7.75 but he has been conceding almost nine runs an over. That hasn’t helped Raina’s cause.
Another reason could be the responsibility of being the main spinner.
At Chennai Super Kings, Jadeja bowled alongside R Ashwin, and his role was clearly defined. In 2014, he had 19 wickets for CSK.
This year, his line has been awry and the majority of the boundaries he has conceded have been hit from outside off. The reaction is a short-pitched delivery which is followed by a dart on the leg side. Even though Jadeja bowled well initially against AB de Villiers, he ended up getting punished for his pace and wayward line.
But, it is never too late. In Qualifier 1 against RCB at Bengaluru, Jadeja played his role well by picking two wickets for 21 runs in his four overs. De Villiers overshadowed his effort or otherwise credit would have gone to Jadeja for helping Lions enter the final.
On Friday, Lions will face Sunrisers Hyderabad in Qualifier 2, for a place in the final. Sunrisers have three lefthanders and a lot will be expected of Jadeja as only he can come up with a trick or two to stop David Warner and Co.