Mumbai v Maharashtra, Ranji quarter-final, 4th day January 12, 2014

Jadhav shows respect for defence

Maharashtra's Kedar Jadhav has passed 1000 runs for the season. The aggressive batsman has understood the importance of defence, thanks to his coach, and it was his composure that helped him outclass Mumbai

Coming into the ongoing domestic season, Kedar Jadhav had four first-class centuries to his name, including the mammoth 327 against Uttar Pradesh in 2012-13. That number has gone up to nine, with his match-winning hundred against Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final being his fifth of the season.

Jadhav's unbeaten 120 at the Wankhede Stadium took his Ranji tally for the season to 1034 runs. And with potentially two more matches for Maharashtra, he can not only surpass Dheeraj Jadhav's record of 1066 for the most runs in a Ranji season for Maharashtra but also pose a threat to the all-time top three run-getters in a Ranji season - VVS Laxman (1415, in 1999-00), Vijay Bharadwaj (1280, in 1998-99) and Wasim Jaffer (1260, in 2008-09).

Jadhav has always had a reputation of being an aggressive batsman. He's gifted with an exceptional ability to read the length of the ball and hand-eye coordination. He has, therefore, been billed as a limited-overs' specialist. He has shown glimpses of his abilities against reputed bowlers during his limited opportunities in the IPL and for India A in 50-over games.

Besides his consistent scores, an equally impressive factor about Jadhav's batting is his scoring rate. While his record 327 against Uttar Pradesh had come off just 312 balls, his 1000-plus runs this year have come at a strike rate of 80.40.

The big difference in his technique this year has been his ability to defend balls. Jadhav credits Maharashtra coach Surendra Bhave for making him realise the importance of it. It started two years ago when Bhave, then a Maharashtra and national selector, managed Torna Tigers in the Maharashtra Premier League.

"Players like Kedar who are extremely talented don't usually pay heed to anyone else's advice. He is an exception," Bhave told ESPNcricinfo. "Since we knew each other for long and we had an opportunity to work together for a considerable amount of time, I could make him realise the important of forward defence."

Once Bhave took over as coach midway through the last season, the duo started working virtually on a daily basis. During the off-season, Bhave spotted the problem in Jadhav's technique, which wasn't just about forward defence. The root cause was the "lack of a forward stride that had found him wanting in pace-friendly conditions". Once the problem was identified, the measures were easy.

Jadhav admitted that he felt at his best at the start of the season. "Once the technical modification had been done, I was feeling much more confident going into the season. I knew I could build an innings and bat long all through the season," Jadhav said.

When he travelled to Mumbai along with his team-mates, his 863 runs till then wasn't enough to convince the experts since they were scored "in Group C", the lowest tier of the Ranji Trophy. Not many realise that while the quality of bowling is not the best in Group C, the conditions are also far from favourable at most venues.

However, he showed his prowess in his first opportunity against a more superior attack. Though his 51 in the first innings at the Wankhede was scratchy, his unbeaten 120 in the second was the opposite. What stood out in his century was his composure. He and Vijay Zol, who made an unbeaten 91, had been instructed not to fiddle away with anything that was pitched outside off for the first 90 minutes. While Zol almost frittered away the opportunity, dropped at point trying to chase Abhishek Nayar, Jadhav put him right. It was remarkable to see Jadhav being patient till lunch and then exploding after the break.

He scored just 35 runs in his first 77 balls after lunch and then smacked 85 off 67 in the second session to help Maharashtra overhaul a stiff target of 252 on a seamer-friendly track. And the 28-year-old had no qualms in admitting his knock could well be a milestone in his career. "This was an innings which had required everything that I have been working on to be put to test. And I am glad it all came good when it mattered the most. This has further boosted my confidence," he said.

Asked about his aspirations, Jadhav, the youngest of four children of a retired clerk from the state electricity board, said: "All I hope is to continue in the same vein, help my team's cause as much as I can and make my father and coach proud."

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rawdy on January 15, 2014, 14:02 GMT

    guys, Kedar is approaching age 29. age + talent+ domestic records is the combination for new comers. the one who are picked, needs consistent chance to become useful at international level. Some new players click right away. Some takes 1 to 3 years. Real usefulness starts after 2 years in international cricket. and it shelf life is till player reaches about 35 age. So you do the math. I am not saying Kedar is not good player. Luck plays big part. Best luck Kedar.

  • Sriram on January 13, 2014, 15:36 GMT

    Such stories reminds me of many Ranji stalwarts who went off the radar due to the Fab 4 in the middle order. One such name is Badrinath. While he scored and keep scoring in Ranji, it was very unfair on selectors to dump him only after 2 Tests in which he even scored a tough 50 with Viru. Players such as Kedar and many more are not picked for because India and Indians are obsessesed with stardom and Kedar is a workhorse and not a star. Rohits, Rainas have grabbed attention in the world stage with some pristine innings which made them start and they have been persisted even though they too suffer from failure. What do you tell Kedars, Wasims, Amols, Badris and many more when you keep scoring and not shown confidence by selectors or captain or coach. Dhoni and Duncan will keep showing lot of faithi Rohit and Raina albeit thier failure. While one admires that, somewhere such workhorses who deserve break go unnoticed and fade away.

  • GNANESHWAR on January 13, 2014, 5:26 GMT

    Vijay zol can be given a chance in the place of Raina.As raina does not know how to tackle the short pitched deliveries in alien conditions.If vijay zol gets selected it will be good for india in world cup 2015 as vijay zol knows the conditions well in australia and new zealand.raina is waste does not deserve a chance to play for india.It's time to give vijay zol a chance.

  • Prashant on January 13, 2014, 3:52 GMT

    Jadhav definitely has to play for India in ODIs. He has got very good record and temparament. As many have pointed out there are players in our national side who have been undeserving of the number of chances they've got. I fail to understand why people like Raina, Ishant and Rohit are given infinite chances to come good. We know how the flat track bully played in SA and even his form on Indian pitches came after almost 6 years at international level ! Pujara and Jadhav have pretty decent List A averages & strike rates and deserve to be in our ODI side.

  • ESPN on January 12, 2014, 13:11 GMT

    Jadhav has been an impressive player for awhile. Hope Rajasthan royals or Mi pick him . Time to look beyond Raina and sharmas

  • anand on January 12, 2014, 12:39 GMT

    Dhoni has carrear of about half a decade.After that india will need some finishers.I think kedar Jadhav is the perfect guy to fill his shoes.He should be drafted right now in the indian squad and should be given chances in every series around the world so that he gain some experience.Saurav Tiwary is other aggresive batsman who can take no. 4 position in line-up.He has ability with lots of power.Sanju Samson is another guy who can serve india for over a decade and his recent ranji form was a big proof.That innings agiant Mumbai Indian in CLt20 final was his best till date because that was in a pressure situation against quality attack.Be optimistic about these guys,best of luck.

  • Dummy4 on January 12, 2014, 10:27 GMT

    Kedhar jadhav is a good ODI player also .. Look at his listA record he averages over 50 and a good strike above 100.. India's no 4 spot is vacant after yuvraj continuous failures since comeback so ,pujara ,rahane n kedhar jadhav can compete for that spot.. It is likely rahane at no4 and jadhav wont be in scheme of things ,since wc is just a year away..

  • Dummy4 on January 12, 2014, 10:11 GMT

    I completely agree with Sir_Ivor I hope the players in the lesser team are also given a chance. Karan Sharma, Rishi Dhawan, Zol and others deserve a look in. Dhoni has done a wonderful job for team India but his biggest flaw is not looking beyond Jadeja,Ashwin, Raina ,Ishant and Raina.

  • Android on January 12, 2014, 9:58 GMT

    maharashtra`s win shows that mumbai is no longer the epicentre of indian cricket.

  • Dummy4 on January 12, 2014, 9:43 GMT

    As long as you have ppl like Rohit and Raina illegaly occupying the positions with the blessings of captain ..I dont see him making his way into the indian team ..or unless he gets picked by chennai superkings .Its all about the right connections ..mre than talent these days.The recent examples are a Stuart Binny getting preference over Rishi Dhawan or a Pankaj Singh getting sidelined as he beloged to RCA

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