If the Indian ODI team is on show, you can bet Ravindra Jadeja is not too far away. Since his debut in 2009, he has played 65% of the team’s matches.
There is nothing like an injury to leech on self-belief. Jadeja sustained one on his left shoulder in December 2014 and though his rehabilitation had been managed well enough for him to feature in the World Cup, physical recovery does not erase mental scars.
The left handed batsman, who relies on accuracy more than anything else, the slightest disturbance of equilibrium, can create an issue. He is often used as a tourniquet to stop the runs at one end and lure the batsman into making a mistake. If that doesn’t pan out, the strength of that shoulder will be tested when he resorts to those darts.
Ravindra Jadeja was the find of IPL-1, and based on his performances of IPL1 and IPL2 he was a straightforward choice (for an all rounder) for the T20 world cup that followed. For some body who was the rockstar of IPL-1 and for whom teams fought under the table to make him play under their jerseys, his performances in the 2009 and the 2010 World T20 were appalling. After such a performance from a Genuine all rounder, nobody ever expected him to be seen again.
Fortunately for him, he was picked up again and again (Zimbabwe Series, Sri Lanka Series) even after disappointing tours. The 5th match between India and Australia in the bilateral series (India v Australia, Hyderabad) too added to his reputation. As fate would have it, he was part of another chase where India was set a mammoth target of 351, and this herculean task was made to look child’s play thanks to a godly knock of 175 by the Little Master himself. But he failed to live upto his reputation of genuine all-rounder again when he couldn’t take India across the finish line with 17 of 19 needed and was run-out while attempting a run that was neither there nor required. He was supposed to be a batting all rounder, but ended up being a fielding all rounder. Dhoni known for preferring athletic fielders, persisted with Jadeja. Finally, after many average performances the selectors decided to drop him from the squad.
It so happened in England 2011, that more than 2/3rds of the Indian team was down with injuries and Indian Selectors decided to send Jadeja as one of the replacements. Although, many cricket fans were shocked to see him again, that happened to be one of the good things happen to Indian ODI cricket team. Ravindra Jadeja returned a much better cricketer and played a crucial role in winning many matches as well. He was asked to play immediately after landing in England and he responded with 78 runs, 42/2 with an economy of 4.66 and some brilliant fielding almost saving the match for India.
Even in the 2015 world cup Jadeja didn’t live up to the expectations as his scores were 3, 2, 13, 23* and 16 and figures of 1/56, 1/37, 2/23, 2/27, 1/45, 0/71, 2/42, 0/56. Though the not out’s tell a different story but he wasn’t able to take on the bowlers during the death overs. He bowled flat and wasn’t able to compensate with the bat
Jadeja’s bowling action is a bit round-arm and he doesn’t give the ball too much of a tweak. He generally fires it in and because of his round-arm action, the ball generally goes straight on with the arm.
Unless and until, the wicket has got a bit of turn, the batsmen know how Jadeja’s deliveries are going to behave. It’s always going to come in and they play him as a slow medium pacer. They just pick him off a length and smack him out of the ground.
Hitting Jadeja out of the park would not have been that simple for the batsmen if Jadeja had got the idea how to bring the pace variation into play. But, he doesn’t know that. He bowls with same speed all the time i.e. around 90 Kph and that makes it easy for the batsmen.
Jadeja is a player with limited abilities, he is a player who has always tried to do best with his abilities. His balls are way too slow that get even slower on Indian tracks. It is awkward for any batsman to play such stuff at international level (the same reason why Yuvraj Singh is an even more destructive bowler). For a spinner, he doesn’t have many variations and that is why he has been taken to cleaners whenever he has traveled abroad.