Virat Kohli,the captain of the Indian cricket team might have scripted the 4-0 series win which more like a revenge for India against England as we lost the previous series almost similar way when we toured England last.Virat Kohli might have finished as the highest run scorer in this series from both sides but India and Saurashtra can take pride in the key role played by the two Saurashtra premier cricketers Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja who both excelled themselves.
The story of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja is in itself an interesting one.They both begin their career almost at the same time,Pujara in Rajkot and Ravindr jadeja in Jamnagar, as both were learning the few art of batting and bowling respectively.Their association in partnering the huge success of Saurashtra Ranji Trophy team has also made them stars on the Indian cricket firmament.
Cheteshwar was making his name quickly with some huge scores and Ravindra too was establishing himself well with all round display.
In fact the way they started scoring scoring runs and taking wickets, didn't take much time to see them in the Indian cricket team.Today now both of them have established as the pillars of the Indian cricket team in the highest form of cricket.
The just concluded test series against England which India won so convincingly by 4 -0, also saw the great and solid performances by the two Saurashtra players.
In fact after Virat Kohli,Pujara is the second highest run scorer in the series for India as he amassed 401 runs in 5 tests with two glorious centuries.The importance of the Pujara lies in the fact that it was Pujara who batted with such a solid defense that not only he was scoring runs but also making sure that team batting line up never collapsed.
Team coach Anil Kumble rightly said that Pujara is very key player in the sense that he plays spinners so well and England has some quality spinners and Pujara handled them so well.Pujara's century at Rajkot and then at Visakhapatnam has put stamp of authority as far as the Indian batting line up is concerned and it was Pujara who made sure that English spinners never take control in the series.His contribution can't be judged with the runs he scored only.
Though series was stamped by Virat and Ashwin's unmatched performances but it was Ravindra Jadeja who is the real star of the Indian test series win. Ashwin (28)might have taken two more wickets then Jadeja(26) in the series and and might have scored few more runs,but the it was Jadeja who actually took wickets when India needed most.
In fact Chennai Test win is a saga of Ravindra Jadeja.When England didn't lose a single wicket before lunch on the final day.most of the cricket pundit felt that test might end in a tame draw and have kept their report ready.But Jadeja had the other idea.His very first spell after lunch has opened the new hope for the Indian team and rest is history.
One after one,English willow men were becoming the victim of the superb bowling display of Jadeja and when half of the team were in the Pavilion,India sensed the victory which was perfectly scripted by Jadeja in the end by taking 7 wickets for just 48 runs which also was the best individual bowling performance of the series. In fact with the bat also,jadeja excelled himself with very committed batting display.The way he batted and gave company to draw the Test match at Rajkot was commendable.
Virat Kohli rightly said in the press conference just after the series that Jadeja was never a deputy to the Ashwin.If Ashwin was taking wickets,we all knew that it was because Jadeja was not giving runs from the second end and putting lot of pressure on the English batsman.His line is just perfect in any format of the game and today his spell was just incredible and though to me more importnat was his batting success.
Niranjan shah,the secretary of the Saurashtra Cricket Association and former BCCI secretary, also hailed the superb performance by the Saurashtra pair.
"I have been watching Pujara and Ravindra since first match they played for Saurashtra and there is no doubt that both are world class cricketers whose hunger for runs and wickets are such that they eat and breath cricket.Both of them played handsomely in the series and need to be congratulated as well. I am sure both players will continue to serve the Indian team for many many years" said Niranjan Shah.
-By Suresh Parekh