Sir Jadeja lords it over with all-round performance

Unarguably the Most Valuable Player for India this series, Jadeja’s form through the season has been incredible.

Ravindra Jadeja celebrates his fifty on the third day's play against Australia.   -  V. V. Krishnan

From being trolled as “Sir Jadeja” to actually lording over the game in its longest format with both bat and ball, Ravindra Jadeja has come a long way. On Monday, he was the architect of a looming India win in the decisive Test against Australia here. Scoring 63 in the first session to give India the lead and then picking up three wickets as the Australian batting collapsed, Jadeja admitted that the 32-run lead made all the difference to put India on top at the end of third day’s play.

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“It depends a lot on the conditions. Sometimes when the pitch is uneven and provides a lot of bounce and movement or there is swing and seam off the cracks, even 20-30 runs are too much. You saw that they were three wickets down inside of those 30 runs itself. Also, there is no fear of being on the backfoot when we bowl in the second innings. The bowlers are without pressure. Bindaas daal sakta hai,” he said.

Unarguably the Most Valuable Player for India this series, Jadeja’s form through the season has been incredible. With six 50-plus scores in Tests and 71 wickets, the Saurashtra batsman was, not surprisingly, repeatedly asked about his sixth half-century and crucial partnership with Wriddhiman Saha that put India ahead. And he kept saying it was “nothing special”.

Listen to Jadeja

 

“At that time runs were important, there wasn’t much batting after me and Saha so we talked about getting close to 300 together before thinking of going for the big shots. It was a bit tough in the beginning. The wicket was seaming, there was bounce and their fast bowlers bowl at 140+ speeds plus it was a new ball. But it felt good to face that. We often talk of such conditions but today I was actually facing the real challenge of Test cricket,” he shrugged.

Asked about his bowling, that has seen him overshadow senior partner Ravichandran Ashwin in this series, Jadeja said, “this shoulder is now on auto-mode, everything happens by itself. But it feels good that I am doing well in Tests. I can now think of seeing myself playing a longer innings in the longer format,” he added.

Told about the MVP tag, Jadeja was modest. “It feels very good if people consider me a responsible member of the team. Every player works hard to contribute value whenever required, whether with batting, bowling or fielding. To get that recognition is an achievement for me. Every time I perform well, it is only for Team India,” he said.

A brief face-off in the middle with Matthew Wade was also brushed off as ‘nothing special’. “But we all know what happens on the ground in such situations. I only said we will have dinner together after you lose the Test and series,” he quipped.