Australia in India 2012-13 February 28, 2013

Jadeja's new avatar

Ravindra Jadeja is most widely recognised as a limited-overs specialist and was anointed an IPL 'rockstar' by Shane Warne. Now he wants to "play in white clothes for India."

Included in the Indian equation devised to flummox Australia over four Tests at home is a variable: Ravindra Jadeja, allrounder. In India, Jadeja is most widely recognised as a limited-overs specialist, was anointed an IPL 'rockstar' by Shane Warne and is often slotted in as a prototype modern player, besotted only by the mod-cons thrown up by Twenty20 cricket.

But just because he sports a tattoo - his nickname, 'Jaddu' with flowers around it - owns a Hayabusa motorcycle and a horse (among other forms of transportation) doesn't mean Jadeja's ambitions are restricted merely to razzle-dazzle. At one point last season, Jadeja went up to his Saurashtra coach Debu Mitra and said, "I want to play in white clothes for India." Mitra told him he would have to improve his batting and internalise switching gears.

The big-picture message: "Get 100 runs in a session in a Test - and the Test can still be open. You have to make it a habit to stay." In 2009-2010, Jadeja had moved up the order from No. 5 & 6 for Saurashtra to No. 4 behind Cheteshwar Pujara. The move gave him the opportunity to reel off big scores, including the three Ranji Trophy triple-centuries for which he is now famous.

In a batting-heavy domestic competition, Jadeja is the first Indian to score three triples, with two in 2012-13. It is his most recent - against Railways at his home ground in Rajkot - that Mitra believes has put him in contention for India. "His first 50 came in 162 balls - what does that tell you? He was not the same Ravindra Jadeja everyone had seen in ODIs and T20s." Mitra calls Jadeja a "three-in-one player" - and says, "had he played in the Mumbai Test against England, he would've been a different bowler there."

Jadeja is in the white clothes these days, having made his Test debut in Nagpur three months ago. The hard yards of being a genuine allrounder in Test cricket lie ahead. His selection into the Test XI still causes much mumbling. This is a bits-and-pieces player, neither specialist batsman nor specialist bowler, who can tonk the ball and bowl a tight stump-to-stump line as a reserve spinner on heinous wickets. (Great relief then that his fielding is based on a modern regulation: thou shalt not pass.) But a Test allrounder? His state coach says, "He is only 23-24 years old, he is an intelligent cricketer and is a natural. He shouldn't be over-coached. Give him some time, it is only his second Test. I want him to be the best allrounder for India."

In real terms, Jadeja is the reason captain M S Dhoni has been pushed one spot up the order to No.6. Dhoni has declared that his position at No.6 is a given until Jadeja gets "comfortable and used to international Test cricket." If he did well, "according to the amount of talent he has" that batting spot would be reconsidered. While Jadeja's Test figures so far read 8-260 at 32.50 at under two runs an over, his two innings at the crease have produced 12 and 16.

The demands on Jadeja's batting will only increase. Looking back on his dismissal in Chennai, bowled letting go one from Pattinson that knocked back his off stump, Jadeja said, "I had played 45 balls and had even got set a little. Had I played for 15-20 minutes more, I'm sure I would have been able to bat longer." He admitted to feeling a little "nervous" at not being able to score runs off his strokes. "It's not that I was feeling pressure or anything, just not scoring runs. I should have been more careful." Mitra sets another standard for the man who wants whites. "I would like to see him play 10 consecutive maiden overs in Test cricket. Turn solid defence into a part of his offence."

No matter what is made of his role in the India Test team, there is one constant Jadeja sticks to across all formats. He will not choose any category to be fitted into, between batting or bowling all-rounder. "My thinking is that whenever I play for India I have to score runs and I have to take wickets. If I keep doing only one out of those two jobs, then I won't be an all-rounder which is what I'm here for. As much as I can, I have to improve in both departments."

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mush on March 2, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    There is absolutely no doubt on his talent as far as T20 cricket is concerned. With ODI's he is still to prove himself around different pitches and especially on fast and bouncy tracks. I'm really surprised at his selection in Tests. There are so many specialist players like Rahane, Dhawan, Tiwary, Murali, Pujara. I really find it hard to believe that they are trying to fit him into an all-rounder's job which seems very difficult. You can neither call him a batting all-rounder nor a bowling all-rounder. He might shine in an odd-ODI but, he will certainly be not effective in Tests. Tests require specialists and once in a while we get great all-rounders like Kallis, Akram, Kapil, Bottam, Imran. I don't see India getting any benefit from players like Jadeja as far as Tests are concerned.

  • Dummy4 on March 2, 2013, 3:15 GMT

    The most important department in Cricket is fieding and Jadeja scores a huge point there. He is an all rounder may come close to Garfield Sobers who knows. Scoring 3 triple centuries is no joke how many centuries he had saved runs wise. The catches he takes and the run outs. If Shane took him in his team he should have seen something special in Jadev.

  • ranbir on March 2, 2013, 0:08 GMT

    Give Jadeja a few matches. The team desperately needs all-rounders, with the Pathans not in the team. It gives the Captain more options. His continuance can be reviewed after his performance on overseas tours.

  • Al on March 1, 2013, 22:26 GMT

    Jadeja is a bits and pieces player - he is not fit for tests. His economical bowling style is suitable for ODI and T20, not tests. In tests we need strike bowlers, not containment bowlers. There are many spin all rounders who are better than Jadeja - Parvez Rassol, Jalaj Saxena, etc. An all-rounder is a person who looks like scoring a 50 and taking a couple of wickets in every match he plays. Jadeja does not seem capable of either. Sure, he is a good fielder, but when was the last time a player got selected for tests based solely on his fielding prowess???

  • Nish on March 1, 2013, 21:45 GMT

    Did not get a chance to watch his batting in tests....Will try to watch it this weekend and will them comment.

  • Nish on March 1, 2013, 21:44 GMT

    NO Matter what any one may say..... Jadeja can never replace ojha or tiwari.. and can never fill in the place of Laxman at 6

  • Nish on March 1, 2013, 21:42 GMT

    Saw him in ODIs - his betting never showed any confidence.. his bowling is stump to stump ...good for containing...

    EVENT as a spin allrounder for ODIs, he will definitely be considered behind YUVI, PATHAN..

    When he bats he reminds me of some Joginder Sharma, I do not know why

  • uncle bob on March 1, 2013, 20:10 GMT

    Posted by Amit Bhatnagar on (March 1, 2013, 19:10 GMT) Jadeja brings out the cynic in me! Or is it Ugra's magic? I suppose both!! This article sounds like a "planted" article to generate goodwill towards Jadeja. Despite being on the wrong side of 30, and without having laid hands on a bat for a while, I will score a century as well. In my first game. Good night!

    Jesus, India have been missing a batting genius in you Mr. Amit Bhatnagar. I can see you scoring 100 in first and then a double and followed by bunch of tripple centuries. Last time I had that confidence was when I was in high school and Gavaskar was out on zero. I had bragged that even I can score more than what Mr. gavaskar has scored. Bhatnagar sir, do us a favor pick that bat and showw BCCI what can you do with the bat. Go on..

  • Dummy4 on March 1, 2013, 19:10 GMT

    Jadeja brings out the cynic in me! Or is it Ugra's magic? I suppose both!! This article sounds like a "planted" article to generate goodwill towards Jadeja. Let me just say - pathetic attempt! Jadeja (and I hope he proves me wrong) is an over-rated and an under-skilled player who is in the team due to those dynamics at work of Indian cricket which are sadly very opaque. Here is a guy who at most times cannot clear the 30 yard circle with his hits and has hence played far more international cricket than what he deserves. Any other captain, and Jadeja will definitely not be seen anywhere near the dressing room. And before people call for my head on this forum by citing his 3 triple centuries in domestic cricket, let me just say, give me a bat and let me play Indian domestic cricket. Despite being on the wrong side of 30, and without having laid hands on a bat for a while, I will score a century as well. In my first game. Good night!

  • gurinder on March 1, 2013, 17:43 GMT

    jadeja is good only for sc conditions, likewise JA is good for seaming conditions. he was good in 1 test only rest of time he was battered by indians with disdain. in odis his figures are pathetic to say the least. jadega sir need to learn a thing or two from monty singh panesar