The angry young man

Ravindra Jadeja has many brownie points but he should guard against melting them in the heat emanating from his misplaced anger.

There is no denying that the combative Ravindra Jadeja does get under the skin of rivals.   -  AP

It seemed a perfect weekend for Ravindra Jadeja. The feel-good cues included a game-altering performance topped with a ‘Man of the Match’ award in the second Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club, and the No. 1 ranking among bowlers in cricket’s longest format.

However, the left-arm spinner’s excellence-overload hit a roadblock when the International Cricket Council (ICC) suspended him from the imminent third Test at Pallekele. The reasons for temporarily grounding Jadeja, arose from an on-field misdemeanour – a needless throw that whizzed past Sri Lankan opener Dimuth Karunaratne here on Saturday.

Under watch by the ICC, Jadeja should have kept a lid on his frustration while Karunaratne flourished at the crease. The ICC’s verdict was a cumulative one and it took into account an earlier violation. In the Indore Test against New Zealand, last October, Jadeja the batsman, was found guilty of ‘running in and damaging the protected area of the pitch’. The game’s governing body rightly cracked the whip.  

This is not the first time that Jadeja has found himself boxed into a corner. In the incident with James Anderson (the speedster allegedly pushed and abused Jadeja near the dressing room at Trent Bridge) during the 2014 Test series in England, the Indian cricketer seemed the aggrieved party. The then captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni backed his player and it was a support based on what the skipper saw and had nothing to do with jingoism. “I did something that was right and I stand for what's right and what's wrong,” Dhoni told the media.

But there is no denying that the combative Jadeja does get under the skin of rivals. At times, he makes his displeasure known to his own team-mates. While bowling, Jadeja gets irked because of his perception that the fielders aren’t doing enough. Ironically it stems from his strength of being a supreme athlete and it rankles him that some of his colleagues cannot be quicksilver on the turf.

Caught between the fierce desire to compete hard and his failure at anger-management, Jadeja is not doing himself any favours. In the second Test, he was the rock star, scoring an unbeaten 70 and grabbing a match-haul of seven wickets. But what remains is a one-match ban just because he had a brain-fade for a few seconds!

The man from Saurashtra, dons many roles - nagging left-arm spinner, gritty batsman (he has three triple centuries in domestic cricket) and outstanding fielder. There is no denying his x-factor and Kohli said: “Remember Lord's (against England), remember Dharamsala against Australia, those were very important innings like the 90 against England in Mohali. He has the ability and he has worked extra hard in the last 10-12 months. He has bowled so much that the other discipline was left behind, but now he is catching up. It will only do him good.”

Jadeja indeed has many brownie points but he should guard against melting them in the heat emanating from his misplaced anger.