New Zealand v India, 3rd ODI, Auckland January 26, 2014

Jadeja turns a batting corner

In spite of the first-class triple hundreds, Ravindra Jadeja has rarely given the impression of his potential as a batsman at the international level. The innings in Auckland may just change that

Crowe: Jadeja should be tried at No 4

Go back a couple of years or more. Think of Ravindra Jadeja with the ball. What is the image that comes to mind? Shane Watson slogging him for all those sixes? You muttering 'Oh, no' as you saw him come on to bowl in a tense situation? Come back to the present. Those images have been replaced with more comforting ones. Jadeja's predictability, and his occasional unpredictability, have become his strengths.

Now think of Jadeja with the bat. That image has not changed much. It is still one of him being sorted out easily with short balls. Or attempting something needless and getting out - like his dismissal in the second innings of the Durban Test against South Africa. An appearance of not seeming to have the wits to play the situation. Jadeja the bowler has earned respect, but Jadeja the batsman still has to. Those first-class triple centuries, rather than worthy medals, are still crosses to bear. He has seldom given the impression they are ever going to translate into anything substantial at the international level.

His unbeaten 66 that tied the Auckland ODI could potentially start to change that impression. More importantly, it could tell Jadeja that he could actually translate some of that first-class promise into performance, instead of simply being a useful bowler who bats.

Before this innings, only one of Jadeja's six half-centuries had come in an India win. Many of his contributions came after the game was over as a contest. But this one was well and truly alive and Jadeja made sure of that.

It takes special effort to haul your side to within one scoring shot of victory from 184 for 6 in a chase of 315. With the series at stake. All that after the last decent batsman fell with the score at 269, and No 11 came in at 286. To hit two fours and a six in the final over, and turn down a single in between, was an outstanding act of belief and execution under pressure.

Of course, it was far from perfect. Jadeja was dropped twice, he could have been run-out a few times. However, the chances were not the usual headless charges of the past. That he was able to take only one rather than two off the final ball should take absolutely nothing away from his effort, for India had no business being in that position had it not been for R Ashwin and Jadeja.

MS Dhoni said India were hoping Jadeja would continue to develop as a batsman and learn responding to situations. "Hopefully he gets more confidence out of this," Dhoni said. "There are certain things you can talk to individuals about. Not only him, but others as well, you can tell them what needs to be done. It is important what they are thinking and what they do when they are in the middle. That is entirely up to them.

"He has been very consistent in bowling and hopefully will contribute more in terms of batting. The kind of talent he has we have seen in the domestic circuit, loads of big hundreds. Just that he will have to get his thinking right. And this innings will help him."

You would never think of Jadeja as a highly cerebral cricketer. This is not doing him a disservice, but when you picture a thinking cricketer, Ashwin comes to mind. Jadeja is blessed with all-round cricketing talent. He is also one who just seems happy doing the captain's bidding. That is not a bad quality to have. If Dhoni wants to hold one end tight in a Test, Jadeja will not waver from that objective for want of trying. He will rarely try anything else all day.

But when it comes to batting, one's approach has to be a lot more fluid. Situations change every over, even every ball. You have to gauge them and react accordingly. You have to do that with the ball as well, but the stakes are much higher while batting. One mistake, and it is all over. This is the awareness that Jadeja needs to develop. He showed glimpses of that in Auckland. Can he make the world change its impression of him a second time?

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 30, 2014, 1:19 GMT

    I will never include Ashwin in playing x1

  • Android on January 28, 2014, 12:38 GMT

    we loss 4th odi. but I still believe on team india. keep increase JADEJA batting position on no 4th place. I sure he is also doing good with bat.

  • moginraj on January 27, 2014, 23:15 GMT

    @AltafPatel .... there are very few innings where a batsman doesnt offer a chance... even guptil who scored a century had numerous chances where he wud have been runout... fortune favours the brave!!!!

  • Dummy4 on January 27, 2014, 18:46 GMT

    I like what MasterClass is saying, there are many youngsters who are knockign the door and you guys are sick of saying Gambhir, Sehwag, Yurvraj, Irfan etc.

    I also would like Ishant, Aaron, Rohit and Shikar (flat track bullies) to go back to domestic competition and peform for 1 or 2 seasons. There is plethora of talent recently Vijay Zol, Kedhar Jadhav, Jiwanjot , Rayudu and bowlers like Sandeep Sharma...I am not a selector but I have been following all domestic competitions there is huge talent being unused.

  • uncle bob on January 27, 2014, 15:35 GMT

    I totqally agree with posters for Jadeja given a chance to play at no.4 or 5. That position will make Jadeja to play to his talent. Number 8 is not doing any justice to hima s at that position you always come at tense situation and have no time to build your innings forcing you to play slogger. Jadeja is way better than number 8.

  • Dummy4 on January 27, 2014, 14:52 GMT

    My Team for rest of the series is 1) Dhavan 2) Rahane 3) Kohli 4) Raina5) Rohith sharma6) Dhoni 7) Jadeja 8) Ashwin 9) Bhuvi 10) Shami 11) Aron.

  • Santi on January 27, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    To begin with Jadeja was a batsman who could bowl and he turns out to be a bowler who could bat. To be fair he was not contributing with the bat baring last match. If he could not contribute with the bat, it will cost the balance of the team especially in NZ/abroad where our batsmen struggled. We cannot afford to play with 5 bowlers though goni will not accept it. Now with little bit of luck, Jadeja produced gem of an innings. Now he is guaranteed his place for few more matches. Its up to him to establish himself.

  • Subramani on January 27, 2014, 12:49 GMT

    I agree with Nampally's last post entirely. Even regular batsmen, if they are playing in the lower order and are going for runs in a difficult chase they will play a few non cricketing shots and in the process give some catches not expected of them. Both Ashwin and Jadeja fall in that category. I have always believed that both of them could play really well if they play higher in the order because they do not have to imbibe the mad aspect of limited over games.The other thing is Varun Aaron has pace and so it is not easy to drive his good length balls like cannon fodder. If he has a bit of movement he can be handy. Yorkers from him similarly should make it difficult for the NZ batsmen. I also feel that Dhoni is a dud captain and needs to go at the earliest.He has no strategy really. just a Cool look is not what is needed.I wish he would take a leaf from the way Dravid used to lead both India and RR. Proactive and with good imagination.He used to move along.Dhoni is like a sitting duck

  • Corne on January 27, 2014, 12:23 GMT

    I thought Jadeja was very lucky not to be given out when he clearly found the edge, that decision cost NZ the game.

    But the reality is professional batsmen don't walk.

  • Allan on January 27, 2014, 9:53 GMT

    For all those asking for Gambhir, Yuvraj, etc. to be brought back get one thing straight: they are never returning to Indian Cricket. Never. Got it? NEVER. EVER. I personally would like to add Raina and Ishant to that list.

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