Mumbai, April 18: Ravindra Jadeja’s value as an allrounder is slowly diminishing. In 2015, he has scored a total of 79 runs in eight innings (DNB in four innings) at an incredibly poor average of 9.88. These matches include the World Cup and the Indian Premier League (IPL) so far.
But let’s give him some leeway — after all, we didn’t confer on him a knighthood out of adulation for no reason. Let’s extend the sample size of his batting till the start of the England tour last year and to all formats. In 16 innings since July 2014, Jadeja has scored 334 runs at an average of 20.88.
That’s only half the story though. Since July 2014, he has taken just 33 wickets in four Tests, 18 ODIs, one T20 international and three IPL matches. It is just unfathomable that MS Dhoni still sees him as a vital cog in India and CSK’s XI. A likeness for a player can only be justified by performances — but Jadeja hasn’t been justifying his captain’s favouritism for a long time.
And when top players perform so badly, the criticism and dissection of their performances is severe.
Jadeja has come to a level where his every action on the field is looked at through a magnifying glass. It’s much like what Fernando Torres went through after his move to Chelsea — his every touch, every pass, every shot and every run was discussed at great lengths before the football world finally accepted the fact that he was no longer the player they were used to seeing in his Liverpool and Atletico Madrid days.
One could argue that Jadeja is not suited to foreign conditions — where pitches don’t offer him the grip and spin like in the subcontinent. But he has carried his poor World Cup form into the IPL.
Jadeja has played all three matches in the tournament so far — and he doesn’t have a single wicket. He was not even asked to bowl against Delhi Daredevils — and when he was given an over against Sunrisers Hyderabad, he went for 17 runs.
Against Mumbai Indians — a match in which CSK comfortably chased down a target of 184 — Jadeja went for 49 runs in four overs. Again, no wicket. Even with the bat, he has contributed only 17 runs. He was run-out for a duck against Sunrisers and was not required against MI.
Even if we take the blame off him for the run out and not being needed against Mumbai, his recent form still does not merit a place in the playing XI.
Dhoni may also be realising this. We’ve not seen him throw Jadeja into the deep end in a long time. And even though coach Stephen Fleming may rubbish this speculation, it seems it won’t be too long before he is dropped.
“I have sympathies for Jadeja. He’s had a hard role to play. If you look at it, how many balls has he faced over the last year, probably, minimal. He does not get a lot many balls to show his wares. He comes and has to get a quick 20 to win the game or to get a score. We are not going to be hard on him as a batsman. He’s been better than that. With his bowling, he needs a little bit of confidence. He needs some overs under his belt. The other guys are bowling well, so there’s pressure there.”
Dhoni gave Jadeja the chance against Mumbai and it backfired badly. Mumbai were 31-3 when he was introduced — and Dhoni gave him three straight overs before waiting for another wicket and a change of end to give him his last. And this last one cost CSK 26 runs, including two wides.
And that is simply not good enough for someone called Sir Jadeja.