Since the last 24 hours, only one name is doing the rounds in the Indian cricketing circles - Ravindra Jadeja.
The all-rounder, along with his spin bowling partner Ravichandran Ashwin, have been in the spotlight for not making it to the India ODI squad for the series against New Zealand starting October 22. Call it coincidence or retaliation, the 28-year-old answered the selectors by slamming a double hundred (201) for Saurashtra against Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in their Ranji Trophy fixture in Rajkot on Sunday.
Jadeja’s innings came off 313 deliveries and included 23 fours and two sixes.
J&K skipper Parvez Rasool, who was at the receiving end of Jadeja’s blows, described the innings as “outstanding.”
“The Rajkot wicket is a bit on the flatter side, but Jadeja was outstanding. He batted really well. Even Sheldon Jackson (181) played aggressively, but Jadeja performed like a top-order batsman,” Rasool told Sportstar in a chat.
Rasool — who is yet to cement his place in the India squad — reiterated how Jadeja dominated his bowlers. “He was aggressive from the start. We went out of our skin to get him out. But as we tried and there were a few loose balls, he converted them all into boundaries. It was a tremendous knock,” added Rasool, who made his T20I debut for India in January this year. Rasool had announced his arrival in ODIs in 2014 against Bangladesh in Dhaka.
The experience of bowling to an established player like Jadeja is a lesson for the youngsters in his team, feels Rasool. “It is a learning experience for the boys. When you see a star cricketer in action, you automatically learn a lot about temperament and how to apply yourself in the existing conditions, based on the nature of the wicket,” he said.
Rasool is currently batting on 23 after J&K finished the second day at 103 for 4, in reply to Saurashtra’s 624 for 7. “The pitch isn’t a rank turner. So if we bat sensibly, we can save the match.”
Talking about Jadeja’s exclusion from the India squad, Rasool said, “It is the selectors’ call. But as a player, I have no words to describe him; he represented India so many times and won so many matches; I think the selectors are taking a note of his performance.”
The last time Jadeja appeared in a limited-over match was against the West Indies at Kingston in July. Though he was recalled to the squad as a cover for Axar Patel in the ODI series against Australia, he didn’t get a game. It remains to be seen if there is an end to his ‘rest’ - the term selectors have used to categorise his omission.
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