Ranji Trophy 2019-20: 'Rockstar' Jadeja an inspiration for Saurashtra young guns

Ashton Agar is not the only Ravindra Jadeja fan. His state team boys also have stories to share as the India all-rounder continues to inspire.

India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja has been an inspirational figure in the Saurashtra dressing room.   -  AP

Ashton Agar is not the only Ravindra Jadeja fan. There are many more devotees. The Australian all-rounder called him a ‘rockstar’ for strumming the right chords on the field and giving him the right advice.

Cricketers from his state team, Saurashtra, agree that he indeed is phenomenal. The Jadeja aura is part of their dressing room even when he is not around.

Most of them have a Jadeja story to share.

All-rounder Prerak Mankad tells Sportstar the typical Jadeja way of dealing with youngsters. “No big lectures. He just explains your role in the side. When you are playing a one-day game and a young cricketer wants to do something different, like trying to pick quick wickets, he will ask him to focus on dot balls, which will eventually get him a wicket.”

Jadeja is also a perfectionist when it comes to running between the wickets. “When we play with him, we learn how to call for a run, how to steal a quick single, rotate strike and how to build an innings.”

It is very hard for Saurashtra to get hold of Jadeja. Most of the time, he is on national duty but once he sets his foot in their dressing room, the madness begins. The young batters start reading opposition bowlers better and the fielding automatically goes one notch higher.

In a Ranji Trophy match against Railways, Jadeja — who had scored 178* and 48* — had helped Mankad overcome early jitters.

“It was a turning track and the fast bowlers got a bit of reverse swing. I was finding it difficult. He called me and said, “Main tumhe bata doonga pehle se ki yeh kaunsa ball andaar jayega, kaunsa bahaar daal raha hai (I will tell you from before which ball is going to swing in and which ball the bowler is trying to swing it away).

He asked me to listen to him a couple of times to see if it works. In the next delivery, I anticipated the swing and the bowler got very upset. Then, I started playing him better and we ended up breaking his spell,” says the 25-year-old.

Chirag Jani, another all-rounder of the side, calls him ‘Bapu’. He highlights how Jadeja wants to win every game for Saurashtra when he is around.

Saurashtra all-rounder Chirag Jani along with Ravindra Jadeja.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

“We have played together since our junior days. He was a natural all-rounder. Woh alag hai (He is different). He is a Bapu, like we say in Gujarat. He has a Bapugiri about himself, dominating on the field and laughing around with everyone in the change room. He adds a lot of energy to the side.”

Besides Ravindra, there are two other Jadejas in the team. Dharmendra and Vishvaraj.

Right-hand batsman Vishvaraj represents Jamnagar in Saurashtra’s district cricket tournaments. It is the birthplace of Jadeja.

The youngster received a book full of advice from Jadeja that transformed his mindset in the middle. “I have grown up listening to his stories of hard work since childhood,” says Vishvaraj, adding, “There was a match when I was nervous. He just kept telling me to play my natural game. He wanted me to express. His fielding is also inspirational. We all want to field like that.”

Prerak Mankad (extreme right) and Ravindra Jadeja (centre) celebrate a wicket during a Vijay Hazare Trophy match.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

Wicketkeeper-batsman Snell Patel says that Jadeja takes every district match seriously, leave alone first-class which is at a higher level. “He is an idol. He doesn’t take any match lightly. He takes it so seriously that you are bound to get inspired. He is a rockstar for his all-round abilities.”

There seems to be a Jadeja in every cricketer from Rajkot and the adjoining areas. And they are definitely not learning in bits and pieces. The lessons are life-changing as the team is faring well in the domestic season. The day isn’t far when these boys will start swinging their bats like a sword – the Jadeja way!

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos