All-Round Jadhav Reiterates Importance to India’s World Cup Plans

The 33-year-old is making himself an increasingly priceless asset to Virat Kohli’s plans heading into the 2019 WC.

Updated
Cricket
4 min read
Kedar Jadhav starred with ball and bat during India’s win in the first ODI against Australia at Hyderabad.
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All-rounders have always been the most vital piece of the jigsaw for any team. Their role becomes even more important when teams embark upon their quest to claim the title in a mega-event like the World Cup, every four years.

A team like India, who have always rued the lack of quality all-rounders during their past tourneys, will have no complaints this time as they go into the World Cup with a talented all-rounder like Hardik Pandya in their squad. His match-winning performances with both bat and ball during the past three years tell us why he is going to be such an important asset for India during the mega-event in England.

However, with less than three months left before the showpiece event starts, another all-rounder has established his credentials as the most vital cog of the Indian team.

He is none other than Kedar Jadhav.

Hero at Hyderabad

Jadhav led India to a six-wicket victory in their first ODI against Australia at Hyderabad on Saturday, 2 March, with a terrific all-round performance – an unbeaten 81 with the bat, to follow up on bowling figures of 1/31 from seven overs.

His terrific innings helped India to chase down a tricky target of 236 with ease. India were four down for just 99 runs when he had walked out to bat and that sums up the importance of his innings, which came off just 87 deliveries.

Kedar Jadhav in action during his match-winning 81* in India’s first ODI against Australia at Hyderabad.
Kedar Jadhav in action during his match-winning 81* in India’s first ODI against Australia at Hyderabad.
(Photo: AP)

Not only that, the only wicket he took was quite important in the context of the game.

Marcus Stoinis, who has enjoyed a rich vein of form with the bat during the past couple of months, looked well settled at the crease having faced 52 deliveries for his 37. But Jadhav’s awkward bowling angles and pace variations tricked him into playing a rash shot straight into the hands of Virat Kohli at mid-wicket.

He maintained tight lines throughout his bowling spell and churned out economical figures, giving runs away at a rate of only 4.42 per over.

His all-round heroics hardly let India feel the absence of Pandya, who has been ruled out of this series with a back injury. Moreover, his performance also overshadowed that of Ravindra Jadeja, who has been one of India’s primary all-rounders over the last decade.

Striking in Times of Strife

This was not the first time that Jadhav’s heroics had helped India to win a match from a difficult situation. In fact, this was the second time in as many ODIs against Australia – in the span of the last couple of months – that he played such a role.

His 57-ball 61 not out had paved the way for India’s seven-wicket win in the series-decider Down Under in Melbourne in January. India were three down for 113 chasing 231 on a tricky pitch, and just as in Hyderabad, Jadhav’s daredevilry combined with MS Dhoni’s composed presence had helped India come out on top against the same opponents.

Jadhav now averages a healthy 47.08 in ODIs, with a total of 1083 runs from 55 matches – an average indicative of his finishing abilities, with an overall strike rate of 105.65 to boot.
Kedar Jadhav’s seven 50+ scores in ODIs broken down.
Kedar Jadhav’s seven 50+ scores in ODIs broken down.
(Graphic: Shruti Mathur/The Quint)

Jadhav has seven scores of fifty or more in his ODI career so far, two of which are centuries. Five of these knocks have resulted in comprehensive Indian victories, while the other two came in narrow defeats.

He walked out to bat with India in trouble on each of those occasions, and converted them into opportunities to showcase his talent every time. In all seven innings, Jadhav has been involved in a game-defining partnership as well, highlighting his temperament as a team player.

Golden Arm, Fragile Hamstring?

Moreover, Jadhav has been no less effective with his bowling skills ever since MS Dhoni asked him to bowl for the first time against New Zealand at Dharamsala back in 2016.

He surprised everyone with his unique point of release and registered a spell of 2 for 6 in three overs, which included the scalps of James Neesham and Mitchell Santner. Since then, he has accounted for 24 more wickets.

Jadhav’s overall bowling statistics – average 31.53, economy 4.94, strike rate 38.2 – compare favourably to India’s primary ODI all-rounders, Pandya and Jadeja.

His only shortcoming as a player till now has been his proneness to injuries. His hamstring has troubled him a lot during the past couple of years, often forcing him out of the game.

Yet, whenever given an opportunity, Jadhav has proven his credentials. With the fitness having been worked upon, he appears ready to play similar match-winning roles in India’s World Cup campaign.

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