While Ravindra Jadeja has been there for the last decade or so in and around the Indian cricket scheme, it is his contribution to the team in the last couple of years that has really been laying down the marker for allrounders all over the world. He has been a massive factor in the depth that the Indian team has been able to achieve with him being a brilliant batsman at 5 down and also contributing with the ball too.
For the longest time, Jadeja has been a very useful bowler particularly on Indian pitches which assist his kind of bowling and a top-quality fielder but it was his batting which was coming under severe criticism in the past. This is when a switch has been flipped and he has delved into the deepest of his reserves to produce some great knocks down the order when the team really needed him to fire.
The most memorable knock played by him was in the semifinals of the world cup when he almost took the team to an unlikely victory against the New Zealand team after being down and out. He has since scored many such innings. His batting average in the last two years has increased significantly in the ODI format. In 2019, his batting average was 34 and in 2020 it was a staggering 55. Batting down the order, he also manages a very respectable 34.72 which has 16 fifties. As has been evident from the first three test matches in the ongoing England test series, he has become the first-choice spinner who can bat at the fall of 5 wickets.
His strike rate in the T20 format is also on an upward curve with the strike rate touching 170 in the current season of the IPL. This would’ve made him a leading contender to feature in the upcoming T20 world cup. However, in the third test match at Headingly, the allrounder and the country were dealt with a shock when Jadeja was taken for scans on an injured knee. This could be of some serious concern for the selectors not just for the ongoing test series but for the upcoming T20 world cup. Jadeja is the kind of player who would have been the first name on the team sheet particularly on the pitches in UAE where the spinning ball is the norm and the bowlers who can contribute with both the bat and the ball are usually preferred.
Jadeja with his ability to hit square of the wicket could’ve been very handy on the smaller grounds. He is also very good against spin and would’ve been a weapon to counter the spinners from the other teams. He showed in the IPL season in 2020 that he could be destructive when he had a strike rate of over 160.
This leaves India with a major selection dilemma. They do have reserves in the form of Krunal Pandya and Washington Sundar (who himself is dealing with an injury concern) but none of the aforementioned players are anywhere close to as experienced under the pressure situations as Jadeja is. T20 world cup will present India with many such pressure situations and with Jadeja not there.
Jadeja has been criticized in the past for being a bits and pieces cricketer but as the years of his career have progressed, so has his influence on the game of cricket. So, with their fingers crossed, the whole of India would be hoping that he recovers in time for the T20 world cup and can be a factor in giving India its coveted ICC trophy