Jadeja scored a vital 56 in the first innings with the bat.
When Virat Kohli confirmed India’s playing XI for the ongoing first Test against England at the toss, it left many shocked. The four-man pace attack didn’t have their veteran bowler Ishant Sharma while Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur were preferred. Rather what left many baffled was inclusion of Ravindra Jadeja ahead of the premier off-spinner Ravi Ashwin.
Ashwin has been bowling at his best over the last 12-18 months especially in overseas Tests. Moreover, he was arugably India’s best bowler in the WTC Final against New Zealand and had also picked six wickets in an innings in the only County game he played ahead of the series. But leaving him out was a huge decision and it actually helped India in their first innings as Jadeja looked assured with the bat.
He contributed a vital 56 runs off 86 balls and also extended India’s lead while batting with the tail. The southpaw came out to bat when the team was struggling at 145/5 and had scored 56 off the next 87 runs for the team before getting out. Former India cricketer Zaheer Khan, at the end of day three, figured out that this batting ability of Ravindra Jadeja only helped him play ahead of Ashwin in the first Test.
“Whenever we are talking about Ravindra Jadeja, his numbers in recent times tell us a clear story. There were some question marks when Jadeja made it the playing XI for this Test ahead of Ashwin as the lone spinner. His superior ability with the bat helped him clinch the spot.
“So far in the game, we have not seen much spin bowling from England, and India also used Jadeja for just three overs in the first innings. In this sense, we can say that Jadeja has done his job well until now,” Zaheer said while speaking to Cricbuzz.
Zaheer Khan lauds Jadeja’s ability to score in tough situations
Zaheer also pointed out that Ravindra Jadeja is an experienced cricketer now having played more than 50 Tests and lauded him for his contribution across all three facets of the game. He also termed Jadeja as one of the top all-rounders across the world at the moment.
“It is not like Ravindra Jadeja has played just 10-15 Tests. He is playing his 53rd Test, which is a substantial sample size. If a player has played more than 50 matches and maintains such decent batting and bowling averages after scoring more than 2000 test runs, he should be in the discussion when speaking about top all-rounders.
“It is not like he scored all his runs in Indian conditions and struggled in overseas conditions. He has had the best average among all the Indians in overseas Tests since 2018. These are the qualities of an elite all-rounder,” Zaheer, one of the best seamers ever to play for India, added.