Feb 8, 2023, 21:39 IST

Indian Cricket: Comeback man Ravindra Jadeja’s could be the most potent weapon for Rohit Sharma


Spin is the flavor of the day and there is a lot on offer for Indian cricket fanatics who are set to witness a huge duel. India and Australia are getting ready to play the first test of the blockbuster four match series which starts on Thursday. The pitch at VCA Stadium at Nagpur. The eyes of the fans will be on the Indian spin bowlers but one man in particular will be in the center of attention. The man in question is 34 year old Ravindra Jadeja.

Long awaited comeback –

Ravindra Jadeja has been out of the Indian set up due to injuries for nearly 6 months. The last time he played for India was on 31st August in the Asia Cup 2022 game against Hong Kong. Since then the 34 year old has missed out on the T20 World Cup as well the series at home and away to New Zealand, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. In his last test appearance. Jadeja scored his 3rd test ton with 127 in the game against England and went wicketless.

Roaring return to form –

Jadeja made his domestic return in the game against Tamil Nadu playing in his IPL home ground Chepauk. The 34 year old made immediate impact as he picked 8 wickets in the game and scored 40 with the bat. Tamil Nadu scored 324 in their 1st innings and bowled out Saurashtra for 192 to take a lead of 132.

Jadeja, captaining the side picked 7/53 to combine with D. Jadeja to bowl out Tamil Nadu for 133. Although, Saurashtra lost the game, there was one bright spark the return of Jadeja the test bowler.

Australia’s perennial nemesis –

Jadeja has played 12 tests against Australia and picked 63 wickets with the ball. his 6/63, came in the 1st innings of the 2nd test at Bangalore in 2017. Jadeja in that 2017 series alone picked 25 wickets. Despite the presence of Ashwin, the Australians were more wary of Jadeja and his wicket taking abilities.

Line and length the key for Jadeja –

if there is one thing that Australia doesn’t like it’s the inability to score runs. The Aussies hate to be tied down. This is where Jadeja excels, as he has the ability to bowl a nagging length which keeps the batters guessing. In the 1st innings of a test match, Jadeja can bowling at the stumps.

This negates the sweep shot, which has been the go to shot for any visiting team. One missed ball and the LBW comes into equation and this is where the danger lies. In case of turn and bounce, Jadeja can easily induce an edge as he gets enough bounce off the wicket when he is bowling.

Ability to prize out main batter –

Jadeja was a key figure for MS Dhoni and India during the 2013 home series where India blanked Australia with a 4-0 margin. In that series, Jadeja picked 24 wickets from the 4 games with 1 five wicket haul. The main focus on that series was Michael Clarke who is considered one of the better players of spin.

This was like showing a red rag to a bull as Jadeja made it his business to unsettle Clarke. In the course of the 8 innings, Jadeja got Clarke out 5 times with 2 occasions the then Australian captain seeing his stumps flattened.


Enticing battle between Smith and Jadeja –

This year, the battle everyone is looking at is between Steve Smith and Ravichandran Ashwin. There is another battle which could be just as enticing and that is between Jadeja and Smith. The Australian run machine has been dismissed 4 times by Jadeja at home. The battle between the two is a battle of wits and attrition as Smith with patience and unorthodox batting has had a measure of success against Jadeja.

Showing his might with the bat –

Ravindra Jadeja doesn’t just possess threat with the ball, the willow too has become quiet talkative in the last few years. Jadeja took 5 years too score his 1st test ton, but his next 2 arrived in 2022. Jadeja at home has scored nearly 1500 runs with an healthy average of 43 with 10 half centuries and 3 tons.

In the last home series in 2017, Jadeja scored 2 crucial half centuries with the 63 in the Dharamsala test being the highlight. The Aussies will also remember his 81 where he combined with skipper Rahane to forge a huge stand to wrest the MCG test away from Australia.

No prisoners taken by Sir Jadeja –

The one thing that Australia will be mindful is the fact that Ravindra Jadeja is a smart bowler. The 34 year old has a good success ratio against both the right handers and the left hander. 211 wickets out of 242 test wickets have come via LBW, bowled and caught. There were 108 times were he had a batter caught, which exhibits his ability to do people with flight and turn.

With his flatter trajectory, Jadeja has had 49 batters caught LBW and 54 who heard the death rattle. Most of the dismissals that Australia have been at the receiving end of was bowled or LBW. With the spin centric wickets certain to make headlines, Australian batters may very well be fretting the guiles of Jadeja.


Left arm spin the nemesis for Australia –

During the 2nd test of their tour of Sri Lanka, it was Prabhath Jayasuriya who destroyed Australia. The left arm spinner picked 12 wickets in the game as he spun Sri Lanka to a famous win on the final day by an innings and 39 runs.

Labuschagne in particular was out twice to Jayasuriya in the 2nd test. The same cannot be ruled out when the famed Australians with Warner, Smith, Head, Carey and Labuschagne in particular face up to Jadeja.

Chance to create history –

Ravindra Jadeja needs 25 wickets to go past the great Bishan Singh Bedi who has 266 test wickets. If Jadeja picks those haul of wickets, India will be surely booking their tickets to Oval for the WTC final on June 7-11. It is also a chance for Jadeja to shrug off the cobwebs and the debacle of a long struggle with injury. This is the chance for Jadeja to shine and give Rohit Sharma his first ever big moment as test captain.