World Cup 2019: Kedar Jadhav peaked two years back
For the game against Bangladesh, India dropped their only regular top-order batsman with a strike rate higher than 100; one with an average of 43.24 to boot. However, it didn’t come as a surprise to most analysts that Kedar Jadhav was left out. After each of India’s last few middle-order failures, his place had been under scrutiny. While Jadhav’s numbers are good, the problem is that he is a cricketer in decline. This becomes apparent if we look at his cumulative batting average and strike rate through the course of his career. ((ICC World Cup 2019: Full Coverage))
Both peaked in the middle of 2017, by which time he had played 15 innings for India. A couple of months later came what was possibly Jadhav’s greatest achievement in an India shirt: batting with a torn hamstring, he helped win the Asia Cup in September.
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Since January this year, Jadhav’s career strike rate has gone down each time he came out to bat. His average has held up, but that can be attributed to batting lower down the order because of which he remains not out a large percentage of the time. In his last five innings, for example, Jadhav has been not out three times.
Another way of reconciling Jadhav’s spectacular statistics with the lack of surprise at his being dropped is to put the numbers in context. Jadhav started his ODI career in 2017, much later than the other regular members of India’s top order. Considering that average ODI scores have been going up over the years, it is expected that Jadhav would have a higher strike rate than others.
Also, we need to take into consideration when Jadhav comes in to bat. On average, that happens in the 30th over of the innings. Since 2015, India have begun accelerating around the 35th over, much earlier than the rest of the ODI teams. In other words, on average Jadhav starts batting either in the slog overs or just before them. Again we would expect him to score faster than his teammates who bat higher up the order.
Getting dropped in the middle of a major tournament usually doesn’t augur well for a player’s career. There is a distinct chance that Jadhav may not play ODIs again. If that is going to be the case, he might end his career with a batting average over 40 and strike rate over 100.