Ravindra Jadeja's poor form is hurting India badly © Getty Images
Ravindra Jadeja’s poor form is hurting India badly © Getty Images

The rise of Ravindra Jadeja circa 2013 provided India an all-rounder they were desperately looking for, but since then the career graph of the 26-year-old has been on a decline. Has the time come for the Indian selectors to start scouting for options, asks Devarchit Varma.

Once upon a time, during happier days, he used to swing his bat with artistry no less than of a knight’s with his sword. What Ravindra Jadeja did to England and their famed bowling attack at Lord’s in July 2014 is a tale he would tell his grandchildren with immense pride, but it will be a shame if that is the only story that he would be having in his kitty to tell. READ: Ravindra Jadeja’s fifty at Lord’s could define his Test career

Jadeja — once feted as India’s next generation all-rounder — India’s hope of becoming an all-round cricketer they need so desperately, is on a decline. And it is time for Indian cricket management to arrest this slide before they lose yet another stunning prospect. READ: MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja’s forms have direct impact on India’s fortunes

It has been 16 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) that Jadeja has not scored a half-century. Certainly, he did not get a chance to bat in a few of those, but a string of single-digit scores since that 87 against England at Headingley in September 2014 do not serve him well. That knock of 68 at Lord’s is the only bright spot in Jadeja’s 12-Test career so far. Despite that game-changing innings, Jadeja was not included for the Test series in Australia in 2014-15.

Jadeja belongs to that generation of Indian cricketers who can neither be tamed, nor would be dominated for long. They are mentally strong and have major part of their cricketing skills sorted out. He is known to be a fighter and his abilities to win matches for his side cannot be ignored. The three triple-centuries in Ranji Trophy and an excellent home series against Australia at home in 2012-13 gave Jadeja enough fuel to carry on in international cricket for some time, but now, he seems to be running out of it.

The magic of snaffling wickets out of nowhere, the audacity to attack the best of the bowlers across formats forced the world to change the perception about him. But Jadeja, despite having spent enough time in international cricket, despite having received many opportunities, is in trouble. The aggression for which he is known has been missing for far too long, and this all has begun affecting the team negatively.

It was lucky for India to have done so well in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 with their star all-rounder, the man who played a key role in their win in 2013 Champions Trophy, being out of form. Jadeja did not do much with either bat or ball. In fact, the only realistic contribution he made was spotting a beard, describing it as the ‘lucky charm’ for his team.

But unfortunately for him and the team, even that has stopped working. The beard is still there, but his cricket has taken a hit and Jadeja seems to be lost. Every cricketer goes through highs and lows, but there are methods in place for them to bounce back. It is commendable that MS Dhoni always believes in giving his men a very long rope. However, in the case of Jadeja, the captain will have to be careful.

The tour to Zimbabwe is all but cancelled and looks like Indian cricketers will finally get much-needed break. Jadeja and others would surely love to go off the field for a while and gather their mind back. But nothing will guarantee them a place the way on-field performances will do. The ongoing season where India will travel to Sri Lanka and face South Africa at home will provide those out of form to find their lost mojo.

But the question is — will the selectors be kind enough to give more chances to Jadeja? Or have they already started planning for a replacement, for an all-rounder is perhaps the most invaluable component in any cricket side?

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)