The comeback man Ravindra Jadeja

The Indian fraternity of spectators walking out of the Vauxhall tube station to reach Kia Oval for fifth and final test match was delighted to see one of their favorite cricketers appearing in the playing eleven for team India. Yes, Ravindra Jadeja popularly known as “Jaddu” was playing a test match for India against a top test match side after a period of 9 months. And there was a visible change in the field whenever Jadeja was chasing a ball with lightening speed and agility.

It is hard for any cricketer to seat out for long time, more so when you are at the top of your game. Jadeja proved one more time that he cannot be left out of the playing eleven for long time. First with the ball, when the conditions were more suited and helpful to fast bowlers on day one test match pitch, he ended up taking important 4 wickets. Later with the bat, he played a gem of an impressive knock of 86 not out.

When he was bowling on the opening day of the test match, he stuck to his basic plan of bowling tight line and not giving away any easy runs. A backward short leg fielder was used to perfection to take his first wicket and it looked like a successfully executed plan. In the field he was running around like a top athlete, it was a treat to watch him chase the ball and deny any extra runs to English batsmen.

He came to bat when score for team India was poorly reading as 160 for 6. He batted positively with the debutant Hanuma Vihari and added 77 runs for the 7th wicket. Later with the tail he added valuable 55 runs in which 32 runs with his last partner Bumrah who eventually got out for zero. In between there was a time when Jadeja kept Bumrah away from facing a single ball for almost four overs.

The fascinating thing about this come back by Ravindra Jadeja is that he never looked like as if he hasn’t played the test match cricket for a while. He looked calm in his business as usual and the so called rustiness was nowhere to be seen. His bowling accuracy was immaculate, fielding was as energetic as it has always been and the batting part was thoroughly entertaining. The trademark sword dance by him on reaching 50 mark was an announcement that Jaddu is back.

 It is a great learning for all the young and aspiring cricketers to see the way Ravindra Jadeja has come back in to the team with lots of conviction, which he obviously has achieved by sheer hard work and unshakable self belief. Rightfully he said in the post match media brief - “Ideally I would like to be the part of the Indian team in all three formats”. I am sure with his talent, commitment and charisma it won’t be too long before he would be doing it successfully all over again.

Shabbash Jaddu…

By Prakash Bhatt

(Former player and Captain of Saurashtra Ranji team)