Hodge hopes for Jadeja's revival

Unfortunately for Jadeja – and his IPL franchise – the change of look has also altered his performance, both with the bat and ball.

Jadeja, along with pace spearhead Umesh Yadav, had been compelled to skip the first two games of the IPL to manage his workload better.   -  AFP

Even before he joined the Gujarat Lions after being forced to skip the first two games in the Indian Premier League's (IPL's) tenth edition, Ravindra Jadeja had made heads roll. Not necessarily due to his phenomenal rise to the No. 1 bowler's charts in the ICC rankings for Test bowlers.

More so, for his new look – a trimmed beard that broke the trend of what has been India Test team's common defining factor throughout the long stretch of Test cricket at home.

Unfortunately for Jadeja – and his IPL franchise – the change of look has also altered his performance, both with the bat and ball. Perhaps the Jamnagar's hero was rushed back into the IPL bandwagon after his extended workload during India's 13 Tests at home.

Or is he too tired to recreate the magic that was tailor made for him at the start of his career? Or is too much to expect of him, considering the team has been misfiring for a better part of the IPL's first half?

Brad Hodge, the Lions' head coach, did not shy away from reasoning all the factors. “He hasn't fired for us as yet. And he is a huge player for us. We certainly need him up and firing with bat, ball and field,” said Hodge candidly, after a disappointing loss at home to Kings XI Punjab on Sunday.

“He has had a huge couple of months for India and he's performed as best as anyone could ever perform. To move from that tournament into this tournament straight-away is, I would imagine, difficult mentally.”

Jadeja, along with pace spearhead Umesh Yadav, had been compelled to skip the first two games of the IPL to manage his workload better. However, ever since returning to action in the Lions' orange, the all-rounder has hardly looked to be even close to his best.

The twirl of his upper body while delivering left-arm spin is missing; and rather than firing the ball from his palm, the bowler appears to be gently releasing it.

It has resulted in the batsman conceding almost 10 runs an over so far in the tournament. In fact, such moderate have been his returns that his Sunday's figures of one for 32 off his four overs was his best spell of the season so far.

While Hodge hoped Jadeja will shed the skin in the latter half, he didn't single Jadeja out for an overall disappointing bowling performance so far in the tournament.

“I think he'll step up to the plate for sure. I think he is still finding his feet. He's a good T20 player but we certainly need a little bit more from other seniors players on such days when you need someone to stand up and bring you home,” Hodge said.

Jadeja in IPL 2017

Overs: 20; Wkts: 2; Avg: 97; Econony Rate: 9.70

Inns: 3; Runs: 51; Avg: 25.50; Strike Rate: 121.42

Jadeja's overall IPL record

Overs: 302.5; Wkts: 79; Avg: 29.75; Econony Rate: 7.76

Inns: 102; Runs: 1,625; Avg: 23.21; Strike Rate: 121.44