The Curious Case of the New Jadeja

The first T20 match between Australia and India was won by the Indian side by 11 runs. It was a good game of cricket and would have been a great leveller of the tour as India and Australi have both won 2 games each. The whole debate, however, seems to now shift towards the concussion substitute that was made in the 1st T20.

India was asked to bat first and every batsman gave easy wickets after settling in for a big score. India were batting poorly and were on the verge of a poor score when Jadeja arrived in the 13th over. He was batting well but was soon hit by a bouncer on the helmet. His woes were even more increased when he started having hamstring issues. Jadeja seems to be in a peculiar position this past couple of years. His batting seems to have gotten better but his game time has gotten reduced. Even in this year’s IPL, he has had some very good performances for Chennai Super Kings. He was however hardly allowed to play more than 20 balls.

Even in the ODIs against Australia, he was sent to bat when the required run rate was way past 10 runs an over. When he was given time to play in the third ODI he made 66 not out in 50 balls. In the first T20, he played a similar knock of 44 off 23 balls. His batting has improved significantly over the past few years and his bowling has become worse to a similar extent. Jadeja used to be the best test bowler in ODI and Test at one point in time. His bowling has deteriorated significantly and now he’s ranked 18, 29 and 65 in Test, ODI and T20.

Turning into a Batting Allrounder?

Chennai Super Kings has statistically the poorest of IPL this year. Even in that team, Jadeja scored his 3rd highest runs in all of IPL seasons. He also has the best strike rate of 171.85 way ahead of his second-best of 148.88 in 2013. He seems to be making good use of the balls that he gets to play. Meanwhile, in bowling, he has been performing consistently poor for the past couple of years. In this year’s IPL he took just 6 wickets in 14 matches. For comparison, he took 15 and 11 wickets respectively in the seasons prior to 2020.

The stats point to him turning into a batting allrounder. The problem, however, is an overload of batting talent in the Indian team. Hardik Pandya has also started focussing more on batting and has improved immensely in 2020. His scores in the Australia series are 90, 28, 1-24, 92, 16 and 42. He is bowling less and batting significantly better pushing Jadeja to lower down than him. Jadeja’s improvements seem to get lost in front of Pandya’s.

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Out with a hamstring injury, Jadeja needs to either improve his bowling or move up the order, the latter being incredibly difficult in this batting heavy Indian side. Whatever the case be, this is an unusual situation where the problem persists despite a player improving in batting.

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