The Indian teams for the ODIs and T20Is against West Indies at home have been announced. Virat Kohli, who was rested for the T20Is against Bangladesh, is back as leader in both the squads. In a surprise move, Sanju Samson, who was called up to the T20I team for the Bangladesh series, has been dropped without being given a game. Rishabh Pant, on the other hand, has been retained despite constant failures.
Experienced pacers Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are there in both the T20I and ODI squads as does KL Rahul. Also, while all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja has been included in both squads, Krunal Pandya has been dropped after a couple of poor series’. The limited overs contests against West Indies will also see the reunion of the spin twins as Kuldeep Yadav, who did not feature in the T20Is against Bangladesh, makes a comeback even as Yuzvendra Chahal retained his spots.
One of the most curios selections in the ODI squad is that of Kedar Jadhav. The injury-prone middle-order batsman, who struggled in the World Cup, has been retained despite not doing much of note of late. India took Jadhav to the World Cup as an all-rounder who could score quickly down the order, and chip in with some crucial scalps with the ball. However, things did not pan out too well in England.
Although he got a half-century against Afghanistan, it came at a strike rate of under 77, and Afghanistan nearly won the game before a Mohammed Shami hat-trick rescued them. After managing only 7 against West Indies, he infamously crawled to 12 from 13 balls as India gave up the chase against England. Jadhav was conveniently dropped from the playing eleven after this game, and did not take any further part in the tournament. His exclusion on the basis of his lack of power-hitting, which came to the fore in England, was an amply clear move.
As for his awkward bowling, which gave him quite a few wickets in the run-up to the World Cup, it was highly ineffective in England. In fact, Virat Kohli hardly showed any confidence in his bowling in the tournament, and he was rarely called on to bowl. Jadhav, in fact, went wicketless, bowling only six overs in the tournament. After India were knocked out of the World Cup in the semi-finals, it seemed Jadhav’s international career was over. However, to the surprise of many, he was retained for the tour of West Indies. Chief Selector MSK Prasad opined that the 34-year-old had done nothing wrong to be dropped, which was bizarre since Jadhav was dumped from the starting eleven mid-way through the World Cup. If indeed the think-tank had so much faith in his ability, they should have played him in the semi-finals against New Zealand.
Jadhav’s startling fall
In his last 13 ODI matches, Jadhav averages only 29.42 with one fifty, the 52 he scored in the World Cup 2019 game against Afghanistan. The figures are further dwarfed by the fact that Jadhav has four not outs to his name during this period. Worse still, the all-rounder has only one wicket during this phase, and averages a humongous 189. His bowling, which got India some prized wickets was one of the key reasons he kept finding a place in India’s ODI team despite a fragile, ageing body.
The fall in Jadhav’s fortunes is evident by his impressive performance in the period prior to the above-mentioned one. In 55 ODI matches, starting with his debut in November 2014, Jadhav scored 1,083 runs at a highly commendable average of 47.08 with two hundreds. Significantly, Jadhav also claimed 26 wickets during this period at 31.53.
The street-smart cricketer from Maharashtra has done a reasonable job for India despite making a late debut, and fully deserved his World Cup berth. However, continuing with him despite the numbers not coming, and specifically considering his age and fitness issues, defies cricketing logic.