Rahul Dravid speaks to struggling Ravindra Jadeja before USA match; India ‘don’t expect everyone to be in form’

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By Mahtab Ahmad

Not often do you question Ravindra Jadeja‘s spot in the Indian XI. When fit, he has been an automatic pick for long in every format. What he brings to the table in all three departments of the game is rare and often unmatchable. But of late, his stocks have gone down in T20Is. His bowling is not that effective on flat decks. The slam-bang nature of batting that is required at No.5 or below in this format does not come naturally to the left-hander.

India's Ravindra Jadeja(ANI)
India’s Ravindra Jadeja(ANI)

Jadeja hasn’t had a good IPL in the last three years. His performance for the Chennai Super Kings has been okayish at best. This year, he scored 267 runs, which, by the way, is his highest since 2011, but the impact was missing. Since MS Dhoni slid down the order, Jadeja has been given a higher number in CSK’s batting order but the experienced has failed to grab the opportunity with both hands. He has shown splashes of brilliance but the consistency big-hitting required in this format, has been missing for quite some time.

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As far as his bowling goes, Jadeja has been brilliant on pitches that offer something to spinners but on flat decks, he has gone the journey.

Despite his iffy form, the Indian selectors backed the experienced all-rounder for the T20 World Cup. But Jadeja’s performance in the first two matches of the tournament has been anything but satisfactory. He didn’t get to bat and bowled just one over in India’s eight-wicket win against Ireland. Against Pakistan, he was out for a golden duck and was given just two overs, where he conceded 10 runs without any success.

It is clear that captain Rohit Sharma prefers Axar Patel as a batter and bowler. Axar was promoted to No.4 against Pakistan and he was also the trusted spinner in the low-scoring match. This is not to suggest that Jadeja can’t turn things around. He is more than capable of doing that but the chorus of playing either Kuldeep Yadav or Sanju Samson is growing. And the Indian support staff is well aware of it.

Speaking at the press conference before India’s next Group A match against the USA, India’s bowling coach Paras Mhambrey said that he is happy that head coach Rahul Dravid and batting coach Vikram Rathour are having conversations with Jadeja to motivate him.

“I think it’s a team game, right? It’s going to be 11 guys. You really don’t expect all of them coming into form. It’s going to be performed every game that will happen. For me, I personally feel whatever conversations Rahul and Vicky are having around, I’ve been pretty happy with it. And you expect a one-odd game out there,” Mhambrey said.

Jadeja needs just one good game

The bowling coach added that it’s a long tournament, and experienced player Jadeja needs just one game to regain his form. He also pointed out that it’s not just Jadeja who’s out of form; Shivam Dube and others are also struggling.

“It’s a long tournament. I think…someone like Jadeja, who’s so vastly experienced, he just needs a game out there to just get his roots around and feel around. And we know that the skills that he has and the experience, he’s going to go ahead and he’s going to win your games. So that confidence we have in not only Jadeja but honestly with someone like Dube and others as well,” he added.

He further said it’s important for the team to back the players, especially in a tournament like T20 World Cup.

“You can have one odd game and people will have conversations saying you are given a game, and you’re going to have one bad game. That’s fine, but the team will back you. And that’s what is important in a tournament like this,” he added.

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