India recently announced their 15 man squad for the first three ODIs against Australia and there were two big names missing from the list. Both Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin were left out of the squads to play against an opponent like Australia.
Ashwin is currently playing in the English County cricket for Worcestershire in order to prepare for India’s 2018 5 Test tour to England and had said in an interview that he would readily miss the Australia ODI series in order to complete his commitment in English County.
However, Ravindra Jadeja also been rested raises a few eyebrows. He last played ODI cricket for India against West Indies in July and has not featured in the blue uniform since. Akshar Patel replaced him for the Sri Lanka ODI series and now in the team against Australia.
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Though the selection committee has said that both have been rested due to rotation policy, Jadeja’s performance has not been upto par since the Champions Trophy 2017 on international circuit. Given that he has bowled a lot during India’s 13 Test season at home, Jadeja was rested for half the IPL and then has played just two series in blue colors.
Since 2015, after returning from his shoulder injury, Jadeja has been one of the best bowlers in Test cricket and reached the no.1 position in Test bowler’s rankings until he was dethroned by James Anderson recently. He has been phenomenal in Tests and looked dangerous against Sri Lanka also, getting the Man of the match in the second Test, before getting banned for the 3rd Test.
However, things haven’t been same in ODI cricket for him. Since 2015, he has played 27 ODIs and taken 21 wickets at an average of 58.71 and economy of 5.32. In 2017, he has 8 wickets from 10 matches. His performance in ODI cricket has been on the decline and hence Akshar Patel has been preferred over him in recent times.
Even with the bat, Jadeja has 223 runs in 27 matches since 2015 with a highest score of 32 runs.
Turning the ball was never Jadeja’s strength and he knew it. He was dependent on help from the pitch and his unerring accuracy, which made batsmen make mistakes. This style of bowling is highly successful in Tests, but in ODIs and T20Is, he has been taken for runs due to his lack of ball turning skills.
He was touted to come back into the Indian team for this Australia series in place of Akshar, but selectors have decided to reward Akshar’s good performance against Sri Lanka in ODIs and persisted with him.
Jadeja was rested justifiably against Sri Lanka ODI and T20I series, but him not featuring in the team at home against Australia raises the question, whether selectors see Jadeja as just a Test match bowler and have decided to go with Akshar in limited overs format? Or Jadeja’s break has been extended and he might be back against New Zealand or Sri Lanka in limited overs series?
That remains to answer and we would have to wait for the announcement of the squad for the remaining matches of the Australia tour to find out, how much faith selectors have in Ravindra Jadeja as the ODI-T20I bowler.