The 29-year-allrounder Ravindra Jadeja made a grand comeback to the Indian One-Day International side on Friday (September 21) against Bangladesh in a Super Four clash of the 2018 Asia Cup in Dubai. The left-arm spinner returned figures of 4 for 29 and played a key role in India's convincing seven-wicket victory.
After Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3 for 32) and Jasprit Bumrah (3 for 37) gave India early breakthroughs, Jadeja demolished Bangladesh's middle-order with key scalps of Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun and Mosaddek Hossain. The Mashrafe Mortaza-led side was bundled out for 173 in 49.1 overs. In reply, India rode on Rohit Sharma's unbeaten 83 and handy cameos from Shikhar Dhawan and MS Dhoni to complete the chase with more than 13 overs to spare.
Jadeja, who technically replaced injured Axar Patel in the squad, was included in the XI in place of Hardik Pandya, who suffered an acute lower back spasm during India's group game against Pakistan.
Playing his first ODI since July 2017, Jadeja was absolutely thrilled with his performance. "I will always remember this comeback because I returned to the team after a gap of around 480 days (443 to be exact)," he gushed.
"Even in Test cricket, because the last few series have been overseas, I haven't been getting chances consistently. So I was determined that whenever I get the chance I will perform, that's all that I can control. I was only focused about my own game and how I can improve further."
Jadeja, however, didn't have a great start to the game with Shakib smacking him for back to back boundaries in his very first over. He then suggested Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni for a field change and moved Dhawan from slip to backward square leg. In the very next delivery, Shakib attempted a sweep but ended up mistiming it straight into the hands of Dhawan.
"I knew Shakib was looking to play over midwicket, so I just told to Rohit that we can change the field," said Jadeja. "We can take deep midwicket, deep long on and keep square leg up. Luckily, I bowled just outside the off stump, and I knew he was going to play sweep over midwicket. Luckily I got a wicket after I kept the fielder there."
Jadeja is not one of those traditional Indian spinners who flights the ball regularly. Instead, he relies on bowling quick and keeping it wicket-to-wicket. The same trick helped him gather four wickets on the slow track of Dubai.
"On a slow wicket, you have to bowl with more of your own effort," explained Jadeja. "On a normal wicket, the ball goes through quickly after bouncing so it doesn't give the batsman as much time. But on a slow wicket you have to bowl with more effort."
The 2019 World Cup is less than nine months away but Jadeja is not looking too far ahead. "The World Cup is still some time away, we're going to play a lot of matches before that, and I can't comment on that yet. My ambition is to perform the way I did today whenever I get the opportunity."