Trailing 1-2 in the seven-match ODI series with another wash-out looming large, India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja on Friday said his team now faces a do-or-die situation in the remaining matches against Australia.
The Aussies are currently leading 2-1 with rain having played spoilsport in the fourth ODI at Ranchi, and it could well be a similar result on Saturday given the bad weather here as well.
If tomorrow’s match also gets abandoned, there will be only two ODIs (Nagpur and Bangalore) remaining, which India will be required to win in order to clinch the series.
“We all want the match to happen as we’re trailing 1-2. There’s not too much pressure as such. If this match doesn’t happen, then we have to win the remaining two matches,” said Jadeja on the eve of the fifth One-dayer against Australia at the Barabati Stadium.
“The conditions are not in our hands and we can’t do anything about the rain. But we will try our best to win the remaining matches. This is a home series, so we’ll also get help from the conditions in all the venues,” he added.
Although the match is likely to get washed out tomorrow, Jadeja insisted that the hosts were mentally prepared to take the field even if it is not a full 100-over game.
“It doesn’t look like there will be a match tomorrow! Maybe if it doesn’t rain tonight, we are mentally prepared to play a match, no matter of how many overs it is,” he said.
All the members of the Indian team were confined to indoor practice today as they played football, while the visitors remained at the team hotel in Bhubaneswar. Aussie coach Steve Rixon and his support staff went to the ground to inspect the soggy conditions.
Yuvraj was seen with a bandage and asked if he was alright, Jadeja said: “No, I don’t think there’s anything serious. Everyone was playing football. I don’t think there should be any major injury. Everyone is fit and we all worked hard in the nets.”
A new look Australia team under stand-in-skipper George Bailey started the seven-match rubber as underdogs but the pressure is now back on India.
“They are ranked second in the world, so obviously they have also come with the motivation to do well, and they will play good cricket. We have also played well everywhere,” Jadeja said.
Recalling their victories in the tri-nation West Indies series, Champions Trophy and in the most recent Zimbabwe tour, Jadeja said, “In the last 12-18 months we have won all series. Won in England, West Indies and Zimbabwe. With so much cricket, one or two matches will slip. We have chased well twice (in this series) — in the one-off Twenty20 and in ODI in Jaipur (where India chased down 360-run target). So it’s not as if we are playing badly, but it’s just that in one or two matches, due to panic and wrong shot selection, or confusion, the results didn’t go our way.
“In the last match we got a good start and took three wickets,” he added.
The new ODI rules of having five fielders in and two new balls have shackled India but Jadeja said it applied to everybody.
“Obviously its tough for spinners. If batsmen are set in the middle overs, then it is very easy for them. But that rule is there for all, it’s not as if it’s just for us. All spinners have to face it all over the world. We have to play accordingly and keep that in mind whenever we are bowling.
“We practice in the nets like that and we have to prepare ourselves to bowl that way in the match too,” he said.
“I don’t think the ball matters to spinners as much as the wicket. If the wicket offers help and is turning, then it doesn’t matter if it’s a new ball or an old ball. If you’re getting something from the wicket, you can be playing in England or Australia or India, and the newness of the ball won’t matter to spinners.
“We have to keep in mind things like having five fielders inside the circle always. We have to decide who has to be inside, who has to bowl to which batsman and what the situation is,” Jadeja explained.
“If there’s a new batsman at the crease we can keep all five, or even six, in the ring, but if the batsmen are set, then it becomes tough to decide which fielders to keep inside. We have to see which are his strong areas where he can hit the ball, and make a game plan accordingly,” he added.
Short ball has troubled India with Mitchell Johnson delivering the goods but Jadeja begged to differ.
“I don’t think anyone is not comfortable against bounce. As I said, we beat England in England. In fact, we beat all the top teams — Sri Lanka, Pakistan, South Africa.
“It’s not as if we can’t play bounce well or do well only in India. It’s just that in one or two matches, the batting collapses sometimes. I don’t think it’s anything we need to think about too much,” he said.
Jadeja said Barabati had been his lucky ground.
“I’ve played three of four matches here and done well every time. I took four wickets and made a triple century also. I did well in the Deodhar Trophy also and scored a fast fifty. So it’s been good. I’ll just stick to the routines I’ve followed and won’t try anything different,” he said.