National selector Sridharan Sharath lauds Jadeja’s game-changing abilities

‘’So far, Jadeja looks good. But we will have to see his fitness over four days,” Sharath said in an exclusive, free-wheeling conversation with Sportstar.

Chennai: Saurashtra captain Ravindra Jadeja during the 1st day of Ranji Trophy cricket match between Tamil Nadu and Saurashtra.

Chennai: Saurashtra captain Ravindra Jadeja during the 1st day of Ranji Trophy cricket match between Tamil Nadu and Saurashtra. | Photo Credit: R Senthil Kumar

‘’So far, Jadeja looks good. But we will have to see his fitness over four days,” Sharath said in an exclusive, free-wheeling conversation with Sportstar.

His eyes swooped on a sprightly cricketer who gambolled on the field with the lightness of feet, threw with precision and bowled with verve and rhythm.

Following Ravindra Jadeja’s every move during the Saurashtra-Tamil Nadu Ranji tussle at Chepauk was former domestic batting giant and now National selector, Sridharan Sharath.

‘’So far, Jadeja looks good. But we will have to see his fitness over four days,” Sharath said in an exclusive, free-wheeling conversation with Sportstar.

The left-arm spinning all-rounder has been included in the India team for the first two Tests of the forthcoming series against Australia, subject to fitness.

Chennai: Saurashtra captain Ravindra Jadeja bowls during the 1st day of Ranji Trophy cricket match between Tamil Nadu and Saurashtra, in Chennai.

Chennai: Saurashtra captain Ravindra Jadeja bowls during the 1st day of Ranji Trophy cricket match between Tamil Nadu and Saurashtra, in Chennai. | Photo Credit: R Senthil Kumar

Sharath lauded Jadeja’s game-changing attributes with the ball, bat and as a fielder.

He realised spin would be a major weapon for India against Australia. “We have the spinners,” Sharath said.

Asked about R. Ashwin, Sharath replied, “To me, Ashwin is a legend. He is a match-winner with all his variations.”

Sharath added, “And he is a very handy batter... He is good under pressure and has a sharp cricketing brain.’’

Sharath also appreciated Axar Patel’s accurate bowling and useful batting.

On India’s pace attack, Sharath’s said, “Even without Bumrah, we have Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, and the in-form Jaidev Unadkat. We have pace, swing and variety to hurt the Aussie line-up.

Asked about India’s batting, Sharath said, “Kohli is still a match-winner. Cheteshwar Pujara brings stability to batting. Rohit Sharma is an excellent leader and a fabulous bat. Shreyas Iyer has been consistent. Shubhman Gill and K.L. Rahul have the genuine ability.”

Queried about the omission of Sarfaraz Khan, who missed out despite being prolific in domestic cricket, Sharath said, “He is certainly on our radar. In due course, he will get his due. While picking the team, we have to consider things like composition and balance.”

Sharath prayed for the quick recovery of the injured Rishabh Pant and added it was a chance for Srikar Bharat and Ishan Kishan to grab the opportunity.

In this context [the absence of Pant], Sharath said, “Suryakumar Yadav too can take the game quickly away from the opposition. He has different shots to unsettle an attack. Don’t forget he has over 5000 first-class runs.”

Commenting on the young talent in the domestic circuit, Sharath said, “Sarfaraz, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Rajat Patidar, Mukesh Kumar, Kuldeep Sen and Saurabh Kumar are very promising. They combine talent with numbers.”

Sharath expected the India-Australia Test series to be hotly contested. “Australia is a tough, fighting team.”

Finally, Sharath thanked the BCCI for the opportunity it had given him.

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