Kedar Jadhav is happy that there is “healthy competition” in the Indian team for the coveted all-rounder’s slot, which is up for grabs going into the 2019 World Cup in England.
With Hardik Pandya back in the mix after the Committee of Administrators lifted his suspension, the Baroda all-rounder will be competing with Tamil Nadu’s Vijay Shankar.
Jadhav is also in contention for a permanent playing XI slot during the World Cup. “It is a good thing for any team that more guys are competing for one spot,” Jadhav said. “So, every time any guy gets an opportunity, he will know that he needs to perform,” he added.
The 33-year-old followed up on his good work from Australia in the final One-day International with a quick-fire 22 off 10 balls against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui. He also took a wicket in India’s 90-run win in the second ODI. “It’s not about what I think about my selection. Whether I accept it or not, it’s not in my hands,” he said.
“It is the selector’s call and the best 15 will go. Everybody is trying to put their best foot forward and when you play for India, there is bound to be competition and you have to be at the top of your game.”
Jadhav said MS Dhoni shoulder bulk of the responsibility when it comes to scoring runs during the middle and final overs. “It helps when, especially, if Mahi bhai [Dhoni] is there till the last ball. All his experience and the power in his game, it helps players like us to just work around him and he takes most of the strike, and scores most of the runs.”
Jadhav said that 324 was a par-score at the Bay Oval after the openers provided a good start. “We wanted to bat first and it started off well. With the kind of top-order batting we have, there will be 90 per cent possibility that we will get a good start,” Jadhav said.
“So for most of us, batting at No 5 or 6, we don’t get to go out in the middle because our top batsmen are too strong, and they have been doing bulk of scoring in the last 4-5 years. So it’s good that we batted first.”
He was all praise for Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, who had yet another hundred plus opening partnership. “Shikhar and Rohit have shown class and consistency in the last few years. We had a good [opening] partnership of 150-odd and had enough experience to take the score past 300.”
Wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have now accounted for 12 out of the 20 New Zealand wickets after the completion of first two games. “Kuldeep and Chahal are our key assets in middle overs and as a team, we back them totally. Most of the teams find it difficult to score against them and eventually if we put runs on the board, then teams have to take risk against them and that works for us,” said Jadhav.