Ravindra Jadeja’s mediocre year ends on a high

Ravindra Jadeja’s mediocre year ends on a high

CUTTACK: Ravindra Jadeja may not be the most gifted individual in the Indian dressing room but what he lacks he more than makes up with his impeccable line with the ball, handy contributions down the batting order and electric fielding.

Jadeja once again proved how vital a cog in India’s white-ball set-up he is when he guided the team to a nervy four-wicket win in pursuit of 316, with an unbeaten knock of 39 in 31 balls at Barabati Stadium on Sunday. In the process, he enabled the hosts to capture the three-match ODI series 2-1.

However, in the middle of this year at the World Cup in England, Jadeja was warming the benches as the team management reposed their faith in Vijay Shankar. Jadeja featured in the playing eleven only when a Jasprit Bumrah yorker put paid to Shankar’s World Cup dreams. The year has not been too kind to the left-arm spinner.

“I did not play too much ODI cricket (in 2019). I try and give my best whenever I get an opportunity. More than anybody else, I need to prove to myself that I’m still capable of playing limited-overs cricket. I try to give it everything, whether I’m bowling, fielding or batting,” said Jadeja, after his unbeaten knock against Kieron Pollard & Co.

The 31 year-old, who has been generally labelled a dasher, walked in on Sunday with the scoreboard reading 228 for five. One rash stroke would have seen Kohli stranded at the other end as India still required 88 runs in 67 balls and only the bowlers to follow. But the southpaw displayed the maturity expected of him, rotating the strike with ease, allowing his captain to take charge.

“It was a very crucial innings. A series-decider, and when I went in to bat the wicket was quite good. I took singles because we just needed to play the ball on merit. Virat was telling me to play normal cricketing shots. When he unfortunately got out I just wanted to stay till the last ball. With the dew setting in and the outfield fast, it was a good wicket to bat on,” stated the all-rounder.

While the fitness of the side has improved in leaps and bounds, Team India’s catching right through the series was shambolic and on Sunday, it was no different with Jadeja himself dropping Evin Lewis at point.

“There has been a lot of dropped catches in the both the T20 and ODI series. Going by our fielding standard, it should not have happened. It’s a young group and in the next series we will concentrate on catching,” he said.

Pollard a father-figure: Pooran

Bowl in a bouncer, yorker or a slower, Nicholas Pooran seemed to have the measure of the Indian bowlers at Barabati Stadium on Sunday. Nothing troubled him.

But it would have been difficult for the left-hander four years back to imagine he would be able to stand on his feet, let alone play cricket after a horrendous car accident. He had ruptured his left patellar tendon and fractured his right ankle. However, current skipper Pollard kept his spirits alive in those trying times. It was he who was Pooran’s partner during the 135-run partnership for the fifth wicket here on Sunday.

“He has been a big brother to me, kind of a father figure. He’s been there since I returned to cricket (after the accident). We know each other and are good friends on and off the pitch. So we knew how to complement each other while batting. We also play for the same franchise (for Multan Sultans in Pakistan Super League), so it was good to have him at the other end,” said Pooran, after striking a majestic 84 off just 69 balls.

One of the bright spots in the West Indies set up, Pooran further added, “There are match-ups and when I feel I’m hitting them nicely, I go with the flow. Polly is obviously strong against the spinners. I tried to play more shots today (Sunday) and I’m happy that it worked out.”

Written by Manish


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