You won’t believe that Ravindra Jadeja holds a record in First Class cricket that neither of the greatest of Indian batsmen do. This record is so unique that apart from Jadeja, only 7 other cricketers are part of this unique club.
Jadeja is the only Indian to score 3 triple hundreds in his FC career, the others in the club being Bradman, Lara, WG Grace, Hammond, Ponsford, Mike Hussey and Graeme Hick. This is some introduction to give when you are meeting someone.
But we are here to discuss how Ravindra Jadeja went from being dropped from the side in 2015 to becoming the no.1 ranked Test bowler.
Jadeja, who hails from Saurashtra, Gujarat, made his name during the U19 World Cup in Malaysia in 2008, which India won under Virat Kohli. Jadeja played an important role in that victory. This led to his ODI debut in 2009 against Sri Lanka, making 60* in his first game.
He kept performing admirably in the limited overs format, but was heavily criticized for his performance against England in World T20 2009. He replaced an out of form Yusuf Pathan in the ODI team and in 2012, was given his Test debut against England.
The Ranji season of 2012-13 proved lucky for him, as he smashed 2 triple hundreds in in 4 matches. His best Test performance came against Australia in 2013 series, where he took 24 wickets in 4 Test matches and made Michael Clarke his bunny, dismissing him 5 times in six innings.
Jadeja reached the no.1 rank in ODI bowling in 2013, becoming the 4th Indian bowler to do so after Kapil Dev, Maninder Singh and Anil Kumble, who was last to become no.1 in ODIs in 1996.
He began a spinning partnership with R Ashwin in Tests, which has only grown stronger and stronger. However, during his career, he was labelled as a bowler who needed help from the surface and was only successful in Indian or subcontinent conditions.
Jadeja had to battle all these allegations and his own dip in form in 2015 to emerge as one of the top left arm spinners in the world. Jadeja got injured just before the World Cup 2015, but was picked for the tournament. However, he couldn’t perform well and after an embarrassing tour of Bangladesh, where India lost to Bangladesh in the ODI series 2-1, selectors dropped Jadeja.
Ravindra Jadeja decided to improve and took 38 wickets in 4 games in Ranji Trophy and hit 215 runs to earn a well-deserved recall into the Indian side against South Africa. He demolished South Africa on Indian soil with 23 wickets in 4 Tests, solidifying his spot in the team.
He has continued to flourish since then, taking 71 wickets in the 13 Test home season India recently had. His continuously good performances with the ball recently earned him the no.1 spot in the ICC Test bowler’s ranking. He also became the no.1 all-rounder in Tests, giving a proof of how important Jadeja is to team India in Tests.
However, a continuous blot on his career continues to be the allegations of him not performing outside Asia. He played one Test against South Africa in 2013 series and took 6/138. In the 4 match Pataudi Trophy played in England in 2014, Jadeja took just 9 wickets in 4 Tests. Such performances should be improved upon by Jadeja, if he wants to be recognized as one of the greatest left arm spinners in the world.
When India tours to South Africa in Nov 2017, Jadeja will face his biggest Test, as South African pitches are not made for spinners and he has to somehow find a way to win Tests for India.
All eyes will be on Jadeja’s performance in South Africa and justify his position as the no.1 ranked spinner and all-rounder in the world.
In the end, it all came down for Jadeja to find his way out of the shadows of R Ashwin and become his own cricketer and he has managed to do so in the last 2 years and result is in front of you- the new Ravindra Jadeja 2.0.