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Friday, Dec 06, 2019

India vs Bangladesh: Adapt, adjust, attack - How Ravindra Jadeja, the batsman, is having a stunning impact

Ravindra Jadeja has been bumped up the order to number 6 ahead of Wriddhiman Saha and the wild slogger of the years gone by has shown tremendous application and has put a price tag on his wicket

cricket Updated: Nov 19, 2019 15:10 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India's Ravindra Jadeja swings his bat to celebrate scoring fifty
India's Ravindra Jadeja swings his bat to celebrate scoring fifty(AP)
         

There has been a template to India’s dominance in home Test series over the past 15 months. Top-order batsmen rake up the runs, the fast bowlers run in and slice through the opposition batting order and well, the spinners too chip in. But while the whole world is gushing over the rich stocks in India’s bowling and India’s batsmen, one facet of the side has quietly slipped under the rug - and this is the contribution of the lower order and one man has stood up and made the difference.

Ravindra Jadeja has been bumped up the order to number 6 ahead of Wriddhiman Saha and the wild slogger of the years gone by has shown tremendous application and has put a price tag on his wicket. In Indore, when the platform was set and when India were looking for quick runs, Jadeja did not hit the ground running immediately but took his time sussing the conditions and the pitch.

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He hit a 50 in Indore and swished his ‘sword’ - the crowd joined in and it was a proper theatre but amidst all this, stats paint a picture. Since the start of 2018, the left-hander has boosted his batting average from 29.40 to 35.92 in 16 innings when he batted between numbers 4 and 9. 15 such innings have been played by him between six and nine and he averages 61.60 since the start of 2018.

The next best is Mahmudullah, who has scored 743 runs in 19 innings at an average of 46.43. So while he acts like a bank for Virat Kohli with the ball in home conditions, it is tremendous improvement as a batsman which has seen him leapfrog R Ashwin and become India’s number 1 spinner in overseas conditions.

“But what’s happening now is, since he’s going in at No. 6, with a clear intention that the team management has given him a greater responsibility, I think because of those things and because of the contributions he made in the Oval Test match against England, in the Sydney Test match against Australia, and a couple of other innings that he played, I think those are big confidence-boosters for a player like him,” former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar, who has spent a lot of time with Jadeja, told the host broadcasters on Day 2 during the Indore Test.

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Sterner test await him when the side visits places like South Africa, Australia and England, but there is a visible change in his approach, in the way he is willing to bide time and dig in during the initial phase of his innings. He is willing to leave balls outside off stump, he is willing to play out maiden overs, for that swish of the sword has become more frequent times is primarily due to the fact that he is ready to play like a batsman and not as a dasher.