Ravindra Jadeja: ‘Want to play all three formats’

The all-rounder is determined to regain his “old form and touch” to be in the reckoning for all three formats.

Ravindra Jadeja has not been a peripheral figure in the Indian set-up despite not featuring in the first four Tests.   -  AFP

Before he took the field against England at the Oval on Friday, Ravindra Jadeja had played only four times for India in the space of a year. But he didn’t seem like a man who had been away for long. On the first day of the Test, he broke England’s stubborn opening stand, Keaton Jennings falling into India’s trap with alarming ease. Later, he spotted Ben Stokes getting down to sweep and speared in a full delivery, pinning him LBW. On a day when there was little help in the pitch for him, Jadeja did his bit, holding one end up, keeping the runs down, contributing any way he could.

It is what Jadeja generally does. He wasn’t in the team for the first four Tests here, but he was far from a peripheral figure. With his speed on the ground and his rocket arm, Jadeja was India’s first-choice substitute, making multiple appearances nearly every day the team was in the field.

‘A matter of time’

"I want to become a trusted member of the team and I can fulfill the all-rounder role well because I have done it in the past," he said. "It isn’t anything new to me. It is a matter of time. When you are going through a bad patch, it takes time to regain your old form and touch. It comes back the more you play. It is possible that the more I play international cricket, the better I perform. I will then be able to make a comeback in all three formats."

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Jadeja’s bowling is not considered a fit for limited-overs cricket any longer and the last of his white-ball games for India came 14 months ago; last year’s Champions Trophy appears to have sealed his fate.

"For me, the biggest thing is that I am playing for India and maybe if I do well, I will be back playing all three formats of the game," he said. "When you are playing just one format it is very tough because there is too much of a gap between matches and the experience you need to play at international level is less. So you have to keep motivating yourself, that whenever you get a chance, like in this game, whatever ability you have, you have to give your best on the field."

India may have profited from giving Jadeja a chance in Southampton, in place of Hardik Pandya. Jadeja perhaps feels that way too. But for now, all he’s thinking about is making an impact every chance he gets.

As he walked back on Saturday with four for 79, Jadeja would have known he had done his job.

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