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IND vs NZ, 1st Test: Ravindra Jadeja’s Stocks as a Batter Continue to Rise

India's Ravindra Jadeja plays a shot during the day one of their first test cricket match with New Zealand in Kanpur, India, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

India's Ravindra Jadeja plays a shot during the day one of their first test cricket match with New Zealand in Kanpur, India, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

For someone whose Test career seemed to be in the doldrums in 2017 and 2018, Ravindra Jadeja’s batting has come to the fore ever since and has changed the fortunes in the longest format

57 matches, 2195 runs at 34.29with one hundred and 17 half-centuries – you will take these stats as pretty decent if you are a top-order batter at the international level. These numbers would be good enough to keep your place in any national squad. Now, add to that 227 wickets at 24.96 with a strike rate of 61.5 and you have one of the world’s leading all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja’s numbers. To say Jadeja has been quite good during his Test career will be just about right. For someone whose Test career seemed to be in the doldrums in 2017 and 2018, Jadeja’s batting has come to the fore ever since and has changed the fortunes of former India U19 world cup winning player in the longest format.

During April 2017 and September 2018 India played 14 Tests and R Ashwin got the nod ahead of Jadeja on most occasions playing 13 of them, while Jadeja managed to play just six. Most of these matches were played overseas with India touring Sri Lanka, South Africa, the Caribbean, and England in this time frame. They played as many as 10 Tests. While Jadeja gave a good account of himself with the ball in these encounters picking 29 wickets at an average of 23.03 and strike rate of 49.2, it was his batting that was letting him down - the left-hander scored just 145 runs in 7 innings with a solitary fifty during this period. He failed in 4 of these 7 innings. With wrist spinners being preferred over finger spinners both Ashwin and Jadeja also lost their places in the white-ball squads as well and Jadeja, for that matter, did not play a single match for India from December 2017 till the one-off against Afghanistan in June 2018. He was again not considered for the limited-over series in England and was out of the XI for the first four Tests too.

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Till it all changed at The Oval in September 2018.

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Jadeja was included in the XI for the fifth and final Test against England at The Oval and returned with 4 big wickets in the first innings. He then came out to bat at 160 for 6 and hammered an unbeaten 86 including 11 fours and a six top-scoring for India in the innings. Jadeja bagged three more wickets in the second innings and returned with his best bowling figures outside Asia. This fine all-around show changed Jadeja and led to massive transformation across formats. The renaissance change was seen in his batting - Jadeja became a destructive hitter capable of producing match-defining knocks from the lower order. From that Oval knock, Jadeja has scored 999 runs in 21 matches at an average of 43.43, which is better than Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, and Rishabh Pant during the same time frame, while Mayank Agarwal is marginally ahead of Jadeja with 44.37. That top three among Indian players with at least five Tests to their name. And it is no surprise that out of his 17 fifties, nine came  post the Oval knock and he also registered his only century during this time.

Indian Players with best Test averages From Oval Test 2018 onwards

Name Matches Innings  Runs Highest score Avg100s50s
Shreyas Iyer11010510510510
Washington Sundar46226596*66.2503
RG Sharma1831315682125655
Mayank Agarwal15240106524344.3734
Ravindra Jadeja21307999100*43.4319
Rishabh Pant233831506159*43.0237
Prithvi Shaw59133913442.3712
Virat Kohli264221667254*41.6748
Shardul Thakur461190673803
Ajinkya Rahane30493167811536.47310
Cheteshwar Pujara30501174819335.67313

Jadeja recorded his maiden Test hundred against the West Indies in Rajkot in 2018, scored a quickfire 81 against Australia at the SCG in 2019 and was involved in a match-changing and series-transforming century stand with Rahane in the historic MCG Test of 2020 (scoring 57). Fair to say Jadeja has been one of India’s most reliable batters in recent years and the fact that he has batted at number 8 or below on most occasions, his numbers, in that context is quite remarkable.

Ravindra Jadeja Test batting numbers year-wise break-up 

YearMatchesInningsNot OutRunsHighest ScoreAvg100s50s
201211012121200
2013571934315.500
201461112596825.901
20154501093821.800
201691443759037.503
20171014632870*4104
2018572228100*45.611
201981034409162.8505
202023182574101
202171112695626.902

Over the years, Jadeja has improved his batting and as former India international and cricket analyst Aakash Chopra puts it, “Jadeja’s batting transformation is all about a clear Gameplan and the commitment-belief of sticking with it for as long as possible.” Jadeja has been the most effective in Indian, naturally, but his batting record overseas also has seen a stark improvement since 2018.

Ravindra Jadeja’s Test batting Numbers (From Oval Test to Present)

CountryMatchesInningsNot OutsRunsHighest scoreAvgStrike-rate100s
Australia4511758143.7554.8502
England611129086*2943.802
 India893434100*72.3365.3614
 New Zealand1212516*2578.1200
West Indies231755837.541.201

Ravindra Jadeja’s Test batting Numbers (From Test Debut to Oval Test)

CountryMatchesInningsNot OutsRunsHighest scoreAvgStrike-rate100s50s
England510127686*30.6655.3102
India2636108229031.6162.506
New Zealand2318230*41101.2300
South Africa12088410000
 Sri Lanka2218570*8577.9801
West Indies12022161173.3300

In comparison, R Ashwin, who has in the past pipped Jadeja as the premier allrounder in the past owing to his superior batting skills, has had a massive dip in form which also contributed to Jadeja getting more opportunities to bat higher up. During the same time frame that is from the Oval Test onwards Ashwin has averaged merely 20.66, scoring 434 runs in 18 matches with one hundred to his name. Thise numbers are starkly different from what he racked up since his debut till the Oval Test – 2289 runs in 62 matches at 29.72 with four hundreds to boot. The post 2018 slump has also led to a drop in his overall batting average in Tests to 27.78 from 80 matches.

Jadeja came to bat at No.5 in the first innings on the ongoing Test at Kanpur, ahead of Wriddhiman Saha and R Ashwin and is a testimony to his improved batting. While former coach Ravi Shastri was a vocal backer of Jadeja in the playing XI because he gave the added variety of being a left-handed in the line-up alongside Rishabh Pant, Rahul Dravid also seems to be went with a similar gamelan adding Jadeja in the middle-order mix at No.5. Remember, without Pant Jadeja is the only left-hander in India’s playing XI.

Ravindra Jadeja’s Batting Position in Tests

Batting PositionsMatchesInningsNot OutsRunsHighest ScoreAvg100s50s
4th position11040404000
5th position23029179.6600
6th position9943279165.404
7th position21275634100*28.8113
8th position223158829033.9208
9th position1112528370*40.4202

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first published:November 27, 2021, 06:32 IST