India benefit from Jadhav’s “risk” to switch gears
Kedar Jadhav is fast sealing India's No. 6 spot. (AFP Image)

Fresh from starring in India’s six-wicket win in the first ODI on Sunday, Kedar Jadhav feels innovative range of shots allowed him to take more risks in a tricky chase while MS Dhoni‘s mere presence at the other end kept the pressure on Australia. (READ: Kedhar Jadhav, MS Dhoni steer India to 1-0 series lead)

Jadhav’s unbeaten 81 off 87 balls saw India chase down Australia’s 237-run target with Dhoni remaining unbeaten on 59 at the other end. After reaching 50, Jadhav seemed to change gears effortlessly while Dhoni was beginning to suffer from cramps. (READ: I don’t think like I’m a bowler)

“The thing is, me and Mahi bhai have plans in our heads,” Jadhav said. “We bat according to that plan. And the plan was to not give him [Zampa] a wicket because he was looking like one bowler who can take wickets. We need to give respect to him if he is bowling well. Obviously, he bowled well, bowled in the right areas with good speeds and good variations, so we had to give that respect.

“Out of both of us, one has to take the risk [against other bowlers]. I have batted throughout my career at No. 4, so I’m more open to play all the shots. Growing up, I’ve always built my batting playing shots. When playing shots, trying some innovative shots, I feel I have a good chance of converting those innovative shots. Mahi bhai sticks to his natural game – hitting down the ground.”

Jadhav feels that Dhoni’s game is more about playing straight and it creates pressure.

“Mahi’s natural game is hitting down the ground. As long as he’s there, the other teams always feel the pressure. Whatever little bit of cramp he was having, I just told him “you stay at the wicket, gives me a lot of confidence”. I could play my natural game after 50 because he was at the other end,” he said.

Jadhav spoke glowingly about the effect Dhoni has on a junior player.

“Every time I spend time with him, I learn a lot. I can’t put it in words but let’s say when I see Mahi bhai, I feel very confident,” added Jadhav. “That’s the sort of aura where you feel that I will deliver today’. He has that knack of getting best out of every player and that’s what everybody loves about him. Credit to MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli for what they have achieved in their career. If we can achieve 10 or 15 percent of what they achieved, it will be great.”

Jadhav and Dhoni were in a similar situation in Melbourne during the final game of the series and also had a partnership that sealed it for them.

Asked about the degree of difficulty, he said: “I guess both the games were difficult in their own terms. In Australia, that was my first game on Australian soil. It was difficult to adjust to bounce and get into the groove. If I have a MS or Virat at the other end, they will be telling you things like taking the game deep.

“Now these things don’t always strike you and you need somebody to tell you that unless you have played enough international cricket to understand that. How much you practice at the nets, the best thing is learning in the middle.”

His side arm off-breaks have been a trump card for Kohli but Jadhav believes he is far from bowling a full quota of 10 overs.

“I have never thought of bowling ten overs in a game as of now,” he said. “If the situation demands and the team requires me to, I can definitely do. But doing that consistently, it will take mental adjustment and physically also I need to adjust. I’ve not grown up bowling a lot of overs, so my body is also not adjusting immediately. I don’t think I’m a bowler, I do my job, and I know my limitations.

“I guess I’m just lucky to get wickets. I keep it stump to stump. You will find it difficult, my ball doesn’t bounce that much. It comes from two or three different angles.”

Jadhav has become India’s man with golden arm as he gets a breakthrough almost in every game. Asked about the secret, he smiled and replied: “I guess I get lucky. I always keep it stump-to-stump. You will find it difficult. My ball doesn’t bounce that much and it comes from 2-3 angles.”