If you Google ‘Sir’, the first name that comes in the auto-suggest is ‘Sir’ Ravindra Jadeja, ahead of the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Isaac Newton! Seriously, check it for yourself if you don’t believe me!
The Saurashtra all-rounder has come a long way from the dusty fields of Jamnagar to the international stage and has now established himself as an important asset for the Indian team. But success hasn’t come easy for the 24 year old.
Jadeja was first seen in the U-19 World Cup 2006, where India finished runners up, with Jadeja impressing in the finals with a commendable 3 wicket haul. He also participated in the next edition of the tournament, vice-captaining a victorious Indian side.
Jadeja caught the attention of the national selectors in 2008-09 with his strong all round performance with both bat and ball in the Ranji trophy. With Irfan Pathan out of form, Indian cricket was in desperate need of an all-rounder, as they always have been and Jadeja promised to be the man for the job. He played exceedingly well in the IPL for Rajasthan Royals and played a huge role in the minnows’ triumphant campaign. Shane Warne even dubbed him as cricket’s ‘rockstar’, going on to call him a “superstar in making”.
However, Jadeja’s initial performances were followed up with a lot of patchy ones. The Saurashtra southpaw was never doubted in terms of his talent, but was often found guilty for misconduct and indiscipline. He even got himself banned from an entire edition of the IPL after attempting to generate a higher pay from some of the other teams while he was still a member of the Rajasthan Royals.
Funnily enough, the guy still had the audacity to try to justify his actions and appeal against the ban! Individuals aren’t bigger than the team. Well, Jadeja never really believed in that theory as he was often found playing for his own personal milestones and putting his own interest prior to that of the entire unit.
All these things paved the way for his exit from the Indian side and as his coach tells us, it hit him really hard when he wasn’t even considered for the 2011 world cup squad. I’m not quite sure what changed after that. But the way I imagine it, Jaddu started working out like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky and came back a completely different man, physically as well as mentally.
This started the upswing as he stringed together 3 triple centuries at the domestic level and joined the likes of Sir Don Bradman in the elite list of players to have scored 3 or more triples. That is when he was sarcastically given the prefix of ‘Sir’ by the people and the joke still continues everywhere, with Mahendra Singh Dhoni not refraining from using the term himself!
These knocks got him back into the reckoning and he was rewarded with a call-up to the Indian Test team that was set to take on the Aussies. And, boy did he grab hold of the opportunity!
Michael Clarke, who is one of the most accomplished players of spin in world cricket, fell prey to his bowling 5 out of 6 times. With a total of 24 wickets in that series, he firmly cemented his place in the side. He commanded an incredible price tag of $2 million in the following edition of the IPL, the highest bid that any player had received that year!
Was he worth that much? With the astronomical prices being floated around even in such a time of economic instability, it is tough to know how much a guy really merits. And in all honesty, he didn’t quite live up to the billing in the high-profile tournament.
However, his good form continued for the national team, where he most recently played a key part in the Champions trophy that took place in England.
He proved to be the captain’s go-to man, and ended up as the leading wicket taker in the championship. Today, Jadeja is at the top of the ICC ODI bowler’s rankings, only the second Indian after Kumble to achieve the feat. And let’s give him some credit, as he really has fought relentlessly to get to this pedestal. What’s surprising and impressive at the same time is that he avoids the media like a plague today!
Not that he still doesn’t get into any controversies. Who can forget his recent on field spat with his team-mate Suresh Raina during the Zimbabwe series? But that’s how a true Rockstar lives!
Jadeja is going through a dream run and he surely is making the most if it. How long will this last? I have no idea. But one thing that I’m pretty certain about is that he won’t last long in the Test side, as he is not one of those traditional left arm spinners who tries to beat the batsman in air, but throws the ball at a flattish trajectory. And thus, would prove to be quite ineffective on tracks with no grip. Also, he isn’t good enough with the bat to block a seat in the Indian side.
Nonetheless, he would be invaluable to any side in the limited over format of the game. The chap can get you wickets with his treacherous left arm off spinners, he can chip in with 30-40 runs and is a real live-wire on the field!
Just like Kapil paaji said, he is a complete package! Let’s just hope that Sir Ravindra Jadeja can give us some more memories worth savouring!