'If you're a kid, emerging player or county cricketer, copy Jadeja': Pietersen's massive praise for India's 'superstar'
Kevin Pietersen has urged young and budding cricketers of England to look up to and emulate star India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja if they wish to have a long career in Test match cricket. Highly impressed with Jadeja, the former captain feels England desperately need a fine left-arm spinner, possibly someone of Jadeja's caliber, who can't only bowl, but give the team handy runs lower down the order.
"It frustrates me that there still isn't an international-standard English left-arm spin bowler who bats. Look at what Ravindra Jadeja has done for India in Test match cricket, one-day cricket, and T20 cricket," Pietersen wrote in his blog for Betway Insider.
Jadeja has 220 wickets in Tests and 227 in limited-overs cricket, but lately, it's his batting that has made him a huge sensation in Indian cricket. Jadeja's batting average, especially in Test matches, has shot to 36.18 and he's scoring runs more consistently than he's even done in his career. Although England have a fast-bowling all-rounder in Sam Curran who can inflict Jadeja-like damage, Pietersen wishes to see a left-arm spinner take up that role and feels England need to find a Jadeja of their own.
"It's the one position that the ECB must be prioritising. They need to invest in somebody because someone of that ilk is priceless across all three formats," the former England captain added. "If you're a kid, an emerging player, or a county cricketer, copy Jadeja. Copy what Jadeja does because he's an absolute superstar. You'll have a long career as a Test match cricketer for England.
From the current England squad, Jack Leach and Dom Bess are the two promising spinners that come to mind but Pietersen for something more. Since the departure of Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar, and Moeen Ali no longer a regular part of the Test set-up, England's spin stock appears limited.
"Leach is not a Test match spinner and Bess is not a Test match spinner. I wrote nearly two years ago that I hope Leach doesn't get remembered for Specsavers adverts because it’s about winning Test matches," Pietersen pointed out.
"Unfortunately, I was right, because he’s not good enough. He hasn't bowled any teams out, he hasn't bowled England to glory in Tests like Panesar and Swann used to do."