Ravindra Jadeja… a rare honour and a place among the greats © Getty Images

Sydney: Apr 1, 2013

Ravindra Jadeja may continue to be the butt of social media jokes, but there is absolutely no doubt that his cricketing stocks are soaring after his taking 24 wickets (at a strike-rate of 17.45) in the four-Test series against Australia. Not even his worst critic can deny that Jadjea played a huge role in India’s unprecedented 4-0 series victory over Australia.

So impressed are the Australians with Jadeja’s awesome efforts with the ball, that he has been conferred the Order of Australia — an honour that only four other non-Australian cricketers have been awarded, Clive Lloyd, Garry Sobers, Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard told reporters here on Monday: “Cricket is of course a great bond between Australia and India. We are both cricket-mad nations. I am very pleased that we are going to confer on Ravindra Jadeja, membership of the Order of Australia (AM).”
“This is a very special honour, very rarely awarded to someone who is not an Australian citizen or an Australian national. Jadeja is busy with the IPL, but the award will be conferred on him by Michael Clarke who will be especially flying to Chennai to honour the outrageously talented all-rounder,” the PM added.
PM Gillard, in fact ,revealed to reporters that it was Clarke himself who had suggested that the award being conferred on Jadjea. “Michael felt that despite being the best batsman in world cricket and in the form of his life, Jadeja got him five times from six innings. Michael thought that was truly incredible.”

However, Mathew Hayden, Jadeja’s former Chennai Super Kings team-mate, was not happy with his government’s decision: “Now, if Jadeja was living in Australia, I can understand But the reality of it is he’s living in India,” Hayden told a radio show.

Hayden, who is also a former recipient of the title, said only Australians should be conferred with such awards as they are about national honour.

“I think it should be exclusive to Australians…I’m not so sure. There’s things that are sacred amongst our country,” Hayden said.

“I kind of understand the point of the fact that Jadeja is such an iconic figure here in Australia and there’s an enormous population of Indians that are working here and living here very happily and in harmony with Australia that have naturalised and I think that’s a great part of our country, how multi-cultural that we are,” he explained.

NB: The “Order of Australia” like the prefix “Sir” by which Ravindra Jadeja is often addressed, is a joke – an April 1 prank. But we truly salute Jadeja’s effort in the series against Australia — and that is not a joke.