Legendary leg spinner Shane Warne departed for a higher abode earlier this week due to a heart attack. Tributes poured across from the world, among which a particular one stood out, which was none other than that of his protégé, Indian all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. The talented all-rounder honed his skills in the IPL’s first season under Shane Warne and grew under the leg-spinner’s genius.
After the end of the second day’s play here in Mohali where Jadeja pumped in a majestic 175 runs, he appeared a bit crestfallen in the interview, remembering his captain and remarking about the fickle tendencies of life.
To quote his statement, “It is sad that there is no certainty about life. Anything can happen. It was a shocking feeling and my was reaction was like – how can this happen? May his soul rest in peace,” said Jadeja. This is only a fraction of the magnanimous character that Ravindrasinh Anirudhsinh Jadeja is, who is worth 5 Hardik Pandyas any day, and who should now be prioritized by the Indian selectors without hesitation.
Jadeja’s resurgence as a batter
Over the last few years, we have seen a resurgence of sorts of Jadeja –the batter. Earlier, his bowling and fielding prowess meant that he played with the all-rounder tag. Occasional batting heroics made his case stronger, but something was missing.
Jadeja had long been a vital cog in India’s plan at home test matches, but it was the away test matches where his spot often became a topic of scrutiny.
In the spin-friendly conditions of India, he has forged an unbroken alliance with Ravichandran Ashwin for close to a decade now. Together, the duo has been lethal and has tormented visitors’ series after series.
However, the batting needed a little polish. Experts debated that because Jadeja was sent a little lower down the order, he couldn’t chalk up the big scores as he batted like a tailender.
But Jadeja persevered and once he got a promotion up the order, he didn’t look back. His batting has gone up a notch and the left-hand off-spinner has become the rare gem that is now often undroppable from the Indian side.
Jadeja – the rockstar
While many would on Jadeja’s strongest suit back in the day — it was Warne that believed he could win a game with the bat, with the ball, and of course, in the field. Thus, for those unaware, Warnie named Jadeja a “rockstar” during their time together at the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.
Thus, it was a fitting tribute that Jadeja the ‘Rockstar’ mustered his highest Test match score for the national side and picked 9 wickets when his idol Shane Warne must have been peeping at the scoreboard from the astral plane.
He loved you Jaddu. Remember the time in '08 at the DY Patil Stadium….He called you over and said to me "This kid is a rockstar". We chatted more than once about you and he was very fond of you and of Yusuf. https://t.co/P9MUWARLyo
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) March 4, 2022
Jadeja has edged Ashwin and other allrounders in Teams election abroad
On tours abroad in the extremely crucial SENA countries, it is Jadeja who has edged ahead of Ashwin in the pecking order. Be it the important Melbourne victory in 2020, when he stitched a very important partnership with Ajinkya Rahane, or the hefty contributions made in the Nottingham, Lord’s, and Oval Tests in England — the 33-year-old has been a key ingredient in India’s success.
It was about a matter of time before Jadeja – the true allrounder blossomed. After all, the signs were always there. In the Ranji season of 2011 and 2012, during a 12-month span, Jadeja had plundered three triple hundreds in the Ranji Trophy – a feat that even the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli have not accomplished to this day.
Ravindra Jadeja vs Hardik Pandya — a battle that the former is winning
Jadeja, unlike his compatriots in Hardik Pandya who is a pace-bowling all-rounder, is a much more rounded character. A team can rely on Ravindra Jadeja, far more often than, say a Hardik Pandya.
Unlike Pandya, Jadeja is a very consistent bowler who hardly gives any loose deliveries to hit. As a result, he is able to build up pressure on any batsman by restricting run scoring and forcing him to take an undue risk and give his wicket away. Jadeja is often successful in breaking big partnerships and bringing his team back into the contest.
In the past decade, cricket has transformed from being a gentleman’s game into one where ruffians and exaggerated entertainers are celebrated. Hardik Pandya represents all that is wrong with cricket today.
Pandya needs to get his act right
Allegedly recuperating from a back injury since 2021, Hardik Pandya has been unavailable for the Indian team. Soon, however, he will magically appear out of thin air – fit as a fiddle. This will be when he captains the Gujarat Titans team in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) season.
Focusing more on IPL matches – where each player aims to perform in not more than four overs has severely hampered the ability of star-studded players to stand a chance in Test and ODI formats. Hardik Pandya’s career, many feels, is over as far as the national team is concerned. On the other hand, Ravindra Jadeja’s solidity with the bat has ensured that Hardik’s career in the longest format of the game is more or less done.
Jadeja is India’s no.1 all-rounder and barring a dramatic loss of form, it doesn’t appear that Pandya is getting anywhere close to his spot. Pandya may have the raw talent, but he is yet to emulate or do anything worthwhile for the national side. And the clock is ticking by for him quick.