Ravindra Jadeja: ODI career in numbers

Ravindra Jadeja has become a genuine all-rounder for India © Getty Images

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

Ravindra Jadeja has made his innumerable critics eat humble pie as he is undoubtedly the most improved Indian cricketer in 2013. The all-rounder has firmly established himself as a vital cog in the Indian one-day machinery and provides the eleven with much-needed balance. His cricketing stocks soared early this year and he has built on them at the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 with impressive performances. The future certainly looks bright.

Since the retirement of Kapil Dev, India have always longed for a stable all-rounder in One-Day Internationals (ODIs). Many candidates came and fell by the wayside. An attempt to get the best out of Irfan Pathan as a batsman backfired as it affected his bowling and he had to fight his way back to the side. His brother Yusuf also provided hope with his hard-hitting batting and gentle off-breaks. However, he was inconsistent and couldn’t hold on to his spot.

In Jadeja, India felt they had someone with genuine all-round potential due to his equal prowess in both departments. However, when he burst on to the scene in 2009, one felt his skills needed some polishing. As a result, he wasn’t able to assert himself and became the butt of all jokes on the social media — a trend that continued until recently.

Jadeja’s ODI career can be broken up into three distinct parts. The first phase is from his debut in February 2009 to December 2010, a point where he was dropped. The second phase begins in September 2011, when he was recalled in England and ends after the Asia Cup in March 2012. The third period begins with his return to the side against Pakistan early this year. A statistical break-up helps one understand his trysts with international cricket.

M R Ave 50s SR HS W Bowl. Ave BBI Eco
Feb 2009-Dec 2010 35 535 31.47 4 76.97 61* 29 42.93 4/32 4.86
Sept 2011-Mar 2012 23 325 25.00 1 81.45 78 28 33.75 4/33 5.14
Jan 2013-present 10 215 53.75 1 93.88 61* 22 13.59 5/36 3.41
Overall 68 1075 31.61 6 81.25 78 79 31.50 5/36 4.72

In the first phase, Jadeja wasn’t very confident with the bat and was slow in the middle. A strike-rate of 76.97 shows that he wasn’t able to adjust to the demands of the format. He wasn’t very effective with the ball either as he scalped only 29 victims in 35 matches at an average of 42.93. Thus, he found himself out of the side and wasn’t considered for the 2011 World Cup.

During India’s difficult summer in England in 2011, Jadeja answered an SOS call with a complete all-round performance at The Oval. He looked a different player as there was more urgency with the bat and more variations with the ball. That form continued into the home series’ against England and the West Indies later that year. However, his numbers took a beating Down Under and he was axed after the Asia Cup in March 2012.

The current phase may be only 10 games long, but there is tremendous promise for the future. His strike-rate with the bat is into the 90s and the Jadeja who was once tentative and cautious is now free-flowing and confident. Test cricket has perhaps helped his bowling as he gives it more air now and can fox the batsmen with his length. An average of 13.59 shows how well he has bowled and kept it tight.

It is imperative that Jadeja performs consistently as he has fizzled out in previous instances. He is a much better player now and there is an air of dependability around him. In the past, his promising runs have ended abruptly as inconsistencies marred his progress. The axe was nothing but a natural conclusion.

A very pertinent fact is that India have lacked patience when it comes to all-rounders — Irfan being a case in point. They lose patience with them far too early and that leads to instability in the ranks, which is why Jadeja should guard against complacency as an inconsistent run may see a few heads roll. With the 2015 World Cup two years away, India would hope he grows into a better player as his progress so far has been heartening.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with cricketcountry.com and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)