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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

IPL 2019, CSK vs KKR: Jadeja’s battle to lose in spin face-off with Kuldeep

It is in the middle of this finger spinner versus wrist spinner debate that Jadeja will find himself pitched against Kuldeep at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday. Before the 2017 Champions Trophy in England,

cricket Updated: Apr 09, 2019 09:27 IST
Abhishek Paul
Abhishek Paul
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
File image of Ravindra Jadeja
File image of Ravindra Jadeja(PTI)
         

Ravindra Jadeja is proud of his heritage. Be it his swordplay celebration with the bat or the slow twirl of moustache, Jadeja never shies away from flaunting the Rajput connection. Since 2017 however, that Rajput swagger has been traded for a Chinaman’s guile by the Indian team management.

Kuldeep Yadav’s success in the rare art of left-arm wrist-spin meant Jadeja’s visibility in the limited overs’ format has dimmed over the years. The 24-year-old Kuldeep has made inroads in the Test team too, with the highlight being two five-wicket hauls against Australia and West Indies. With 87 wickets in 44 ODIs, Kuldeep is a certainty for the 2019 World Cup squad that will be announced on April 15.

ALSO READ: CSK vs KKR: Top five player battles to watch out for in Chennai

Jadeja’s case is different. At the 2018 Asia Cup in September, Jadeja made a comeback to the one-day team after 480 days and took 4/29 against Bangladesh. He followed it up with good all-round performances and still has a decent chance of making it to the World Cup, unlike his Test spin partner R Ashwin.

It is in the middle of this finger spinner versus wrist spinner debate that Jadeja will find himself pitched against Kuldeep at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday. Before the 2017 Champions Trophy in England,

JADEJA’S UNDOING

Jadeja and Ashwin were the all-powerful spin duo of Indian cricket. Picking wickets almost at will in the sub-continent conditions, especially in Tests, both looked invincible. But their inability to deliver in the middle overs in ODIs came as their undoing.

It is here that Kuldeep clicked. Right after the 2017 Champions Trophy, India toured West Indies and Kuldeep finished as the top wicket-taker with eight scalps, ahead of Ashwin and Jadeja. There has been no looking back for Kuldeep since then.

While Jadeja relies on accuracy, Kuldeep’s weapon is variation. He can unleash the leg-break to left-handers as well as a well-disguised chinaman. His control over flight and spin makes Kuldeep a potent bowler. “For me, genuine wrist-spinners are those who can turn the ball both ways, give good flight and trouble the batsman. No matter the format, if he can turn the ball, the batsman will face problems,” Kuldeep had said last year.

“If you are turning the ball, drifting it and deceiving opposition batsman, nobody can stop you from being a successful spinner. I don’t believe video analysis can make a big difference in understanding my bowling, technology has been there for a long time,” he said.

RELENTLESS & CONSISTENT

Jadeja, on the other hand, can be relentless with a consistent line. He has the ability to exploit the rough created by footmarks on Indian pitches. But outside India, he hasn’t reaped wickets, prompting selectors to go for wrist-spinners.

Jadeja’s international return too was fortuitous, being called in as replacement for Axar Patel who got injured in the Asia Cup. Jadeja became Man of the Match in his comeback game against Bangladesh with a four-wicket haul.

Meagre returns by Kuldeep’s spin partner Yuzvendra Chahal — only two wickets in India’s last bilateral ODI series in England — may have left the door slightly open for the experienced Jadeja but he still has to earn it. He could start by taming Andre Russell. If Jadeja stops the Jamaican on Tuesday on a slow pitch at the Chepauk, it might earn him a few brownie points.

First Published: Apr 09, 2019 09:26 IST