Jayant Yadav: I have always been a handy batsman

So assured was Yadav with the willow that he virtually matched Kohli in terms of run-scoring during the fourth day's opening session.

Jayant Yadav and Virat Kohli cross over for a single during their 241-run eighth wicket partnership. Yadav became the first India No. 9 to score a Test century.   -  K .R .Deepak

While approximately 20,000 spectators who occupied unclean seats at the Wankhede Stadium along with millions who watched the action on television will mostly remember the penultimate day’s play of India’s fourth Test against England for >Virat Kohli piling on his third double hundred in six months and taking the game away from England, the proceedings for the whole day were also a statistician’s delight.

Not just for Kohli and his spree of records en route piling on his highest individual score; but more importantly for a plethora of milestones that he achieved during his eighth-wicket partnership with >Jayant Yadav, who became the first Indian to score a Test century while batting at No. 9.

That Kohli and Yadav added 241 runs to aid India gain a decisive 231-run advantage in the first innings could well hint at Kohli’s art of batting with the tail. However, referring to Yadav as a tailender would be as unjust as referring to the Wankhede strip as unplayable.

Listen to Jayant Yadav's interaction with the media
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“I have always been a handy batsman, ever since I started playing in junior cricket. But as I came up the ranks, I always wanted to build this side of my game and my Ranji Trophy team (Haryana) really helped me do it,” Yadav said. “Even though I was batting down, I had responsibility, so taking that responsibility, you really grow as an all-rounder player, I would say a holistic development of a player.”

The fact that the likes of R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Yadav have emerged as No. 7, 8 and 9 gives the much-needed breather for India’s middle-order, at least in the sub-continental conditions. While Ashwin is already a proven performer with the willow at the international stage, the other two have established themselves as handy batsmen at the domestic level. That both Jadeja and Yadav have managed to translate it into the Test arena augurs well for India.

So assured was Yadav with the willow that he virtually matched Kohli in terms of run-scoring during the fourth day's opening session. While Kohli added 65 runs in the morning session, Yadav scored 62 as the duo put India firmly in control. But the 26-year-old displayed his composure when asked about the scoring rate.

“I think we have to take into account the context of the game. They were attacking me more and they had very defensive fields against Virat, so that gave me an opportunity to put away the bad balls and that is what I did,” he said.

Despite his prowess with the bat, it has to be reiterated that Yadav has been included in the side primarily for his off-break bowling. He got the vital breakthrough of Joe Root, who was playing an exceptionally positive knock in trying conditions.

Still, Yadav appears to be far from a finished product. He has no qualms in admitting it.

“It is a journey, I just started the journey. There is always room for improvement in all the three facets, whether it is batting, bowling or fielding. Obviously, I would like to improve in all three facets but more so bowling,” he said.