IPL 11

With IPL assurance from Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja could finally realise his batting potential

Jadeja scored a match-winning century for Saurashtra in the Vijay Hazare Trophy on Sunday.

Ravindra Jadeja has had a topsy-turvy few months in international cricket. Not too long ago, he was the world’s No 1 ranked bowler and all-rounder in Tests and along with R Ashwin, the wrecker-in-chief of many a batting lineup as Virat Kohli led India’s march to the top of Test rankings. And up until the Champions Trophy, Jadeja (alongside Ashwin) was pretty much the go-to spinner in the limited overs formats as well. At one stage, it felt like Jadeja would make it to the shorter formats purely based on his fielding skills - it won’t be an exaggeration to say he will walk into the playing XIs of most international sides today for his all-round abilities.

But thanks to the emergence of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, the wrist-spin twins who have done their burgeoning reputation no harm in South Africa, Jadeja is left toiling away in the domestic circuit to win his place back in the Indian team.

But both Ashwin and Jadeja seem to understand that they need to expand their skill-set to catch the attention of the selectors and the team think-tank. While Ashwin has been working on his wrist spin arsenal to go with his already impressive finger spin abilities, Jadeja has set his sights on becoming a better all-rounder.

Playing for Saurashtra in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, Jadeja has been wicket-less in the four matches he has bowled so far - figures of 0/43, 0/59, 0/39, 0/16 (in 2 overs) don’t really scream ‘pick me!’ if the selectors are looking for signs. What will have caught everyone’s attention is an impressive century, as Jadeja smashed an unbeaten 113 runs off 116 balls against Jharkand on Sunday, guiding his side home in a thrilling run-chase of 330. Batting at No 4, Jadeja’s innings in Secunderabad was studded with seven 4s and four 6s, as he notched up his second List A hundred.

The reason? An IPL assurance from Mahendra Singh Dhoni, of course.

“Mahi bhai told me that I will get batting opportunities in the IPL this year. He said that I have the ability of a proper batsman, and I am not the flash in the pan type of batsman. And I should think like that too,” Jadeja was quoted as saying by the New Indian Express. “It was really encouraging for me. So, I am concentrating more on the batting aspect of my game and trying to get used to playing the anchor role.”

And anchor the chase he did against Jharkand, incidentally, Dhoni’s state side. Jadeja’s abilities as a batsman was never under any doubt but for far too often, he has not lived up to the promise with the willow in his hand. While the Rajput sword-twirls have become more commonplace in Test matches, Jadeja’s returns in limited overs cricket in India’s colours are underwhelming.

Jadeja in ODIs: 93 innings (136 matches), 1914 runs at an average of 31.37 and SR of 85.29
Jadeja in T20Is: 18 innings (40 matches), 116 runs at an average of 9.66 and SR of 93.54

His numbers across T20s is a little more encouraging, but still not befitting a top all-rounder.

Jadeja in all T20s: 140 innings (196 matches), 2058 runs at an average of 21.89 and SR of 123.09

But having been retained by Chennai Super Kings alongside Dhoni and Suresh Raina, Jadeja is intent on improving his numbers.

“I am focusing more on my batting now. I do not want to be a player who is known for hitting those 20-odd runs,” Jadeja said, having scored the century against Jharkhand with a side strain that restricted him to bowl just two overs with the ball. “I want to play the anchor role, just like I did [on Sunday]. The pain was unbearable sometimes while playing certain shots. But this was really important for my self confidence. It is morale boosting. To chase the target under the circumstances is really special for me.”

Over the years, Jadeja’s inability to live up to his promise as a batsman for India has often been highlighted by moments of inexplicable decision-making. Be it his run-out in that glorious failure that was the run-chase against Australia, led by Sachin Tendulkar’s 175 or his decision to not sacrifice his wicket in a mix-up with Hardik Pandya in the Champions Trophy final in 2017 - Jadeja has far too often under-performed with the bat. Part of this could be explained by him batting lower down the order for country as well as IPL franchise on most occasions.

But if Dhoni sees a potential batting all-rounder in him, it could mean a real chance for Jadeja to make a decisive impact. Among the five spinners in the fray (including Axar Patel) for spots in Kohli’s playing XI, Jadeja perhaps is the most explosive batsman and that could well be his ticket back to the Indian team.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Tracing the formation of Al Qaeda and its path to 9/11

A new show looks at some of the crucial moments leading up to the attack.

“The end of the world war had bought America victory but not security” - this quote from Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book, ‘The Looming Tower’, gives a sense of the growing threat to America from Al Qaeda and the series of events that led to 9/11. Based on extensive interviews, including with Bin Laden’s best friend in college and the former White House counterterrorism chief, ‘The Looming Tower’ provides an intimate perspective of the 9/11 attack.

Lawrence Wright chronicles the formative years of Al Qaeda, giving an insight in to Bin Laden’s war against America. The book covers in detail, the radicalisation of Osama Bin Laden and his association with Ayman Al Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor who preached that only violence could change history. In an interview with Amazon, Wright shared, “I talked to 600-something people, but many of those people I talked to again and again for a period of five years, some of them dozens of times.” Wright’s book was selected by TIME as one of the all-time 100 best nonfiction books for its “thoroughly researched and incisively written” account of the road to 9/11 and is considered an essential read for understanding Islam’s war on the West as it developed in the Middle East.

‘The Looming Tower’ also dwells on the response of key US officials to the rising Al Qaeda threat, particularly exploring the turf wars between the FBI and the CIA. This has now been dramatized in a 10-part mini-series of the same name. Adapted by Dan Futterman (of Foxcatcher fame), the series mainly focuses on the hostilities between the FBI and the CIA. Some major characters are based on real people - such as John O’ Neill (FBI’s foul-mouthed counterterrorism chief played by Jeff Daniels) and Ali Soufan (O’ Neill’s Arabic-speaking mentee who successfully interrogated captured Islamic terrorists after 9/11, played by Tahar Rahim). Some are composite characters, such as Martin Schmidt (O’Neill’s CIA counterpart, played by Peter Sarsgaard).

The series, most crucially, captures just how close US intelligence agencies had come to foiling Al Qaeda’s plans, just to come up short due to internal turf wars. It follows the FBI and the CIA as they independently follow intelligence leads in the crises leading up to 9/11 – the US Embassy bombings in East Africa and the attack on US warship USS Cole in Yemen – but fail to update each other. The most glaring example is of how the CIA withheld critical information – Al Qaeda operatives being hunted by the FBI had entered the United States - under the misguided notion that the CIA was the only government agency authorised to deal with terrorism threats.

The depth of information in the book has translated into a realistic recreation of the pre-9/11 years on screen. The drama is even interspersed with actual footage from the 9/11 conspiracy, attack and the 2004 Commission Hearing, linking together the myriad developments leading up to 9/11 with chilling hindsight. Watch the trailer of this gripping show below.

Play

The Looming Tower is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, along with a host of Amazon originals and popular movies and TV shows. To enjoy unlimited ad free streaming anytime, anywhere, subscribe to Amazon Prime Video.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon Prime Video and not by the Scroll editorial team.