Ability matters a lot in a cricketer’s career, but luck has its equal share too. The luck factor has bound to have had a great effect in the career of a cricketer, be it be in a debut match or in a comeback game. A similar script was seen in yesterday’s Super Four game between India and Bangladesh at Dubai International Stadium.
Ravindra Jadeja found himself in the playing eleven of an India ODI after a gap of 15 months. This was after Hardik Pandya was ruled out of the tournament after he clutched his lower back against Pakistan and Axar Patel hurt his left index finger while fielding in the game. The last time Jadeja featured in an ODI was against West Indies in Kingston last year before the wrist-spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal grabbed their chances and became permanent fixtures in limited-overs.
Jadeja was brought into the attack in the tenth over. His first white ball over was pretty eventful. He over-stepped in the second ball and went quickly in his stride but didn’t see skipper Rohit Sharma getting a fielder inside so was declared a “dead ball”. The next two balls, including the free-hit ball, were crunched to cover and swept to square leg fences respectively.
Before the fourth ball, Rohit and Dhoni discussed a fielding placement change and it saw Shikhar Dhawan being moved from mid-wicket to square leg. That trick worked as Jadeja bowled an outside-off delivery and Shakib swept straight to Dhawan at square-leg. Co-incidentally, Shakib was the last wicket Jadeja had in an ODI during the Champions Trophy semi-final. And now he became his first ODI scalp in his comeback.
Mohammad Mithun became his second victim when Jadeja fired in a fast, straight delivery which hit the pad first while Mithun tried to defend and on taking DRS, it showed that it would have eventually hit the top of middle stump.
Mushfiqur Rahim, in an attempt to break shackles of scoring in middle overs, which has been Bangladesh’s biggest nemesis for long, went for an expansive reverse-sweep to a quicker delivery outside off and it went straight to Yuzvendra Chahal at short third-man.
Jadeja returned in his final over in the 34th over by taking out Mosaddek Hossain on a straight delivery which drifted in but took a toe-edge to Dhoni behind. He ended at four for 29 in ten overs. Out of his 60 deliveries, 42 were dot balls. He rattled the Bangladesh batting order and broke its back with his accuracy and variations, which have been his strength for long and were on display yet again.
“I will always remember this comeback as I returned to the team after a gap of around 480 days” were Jadeja’s words in the post-match press conference after bagging the player-of-the-match award, which summed up how hungry and eager he was to perform to his best in the limited-overs format for India.
If Jadeja continues to make the most of the opportunities he gets, then it will be a good headache for the selectors ahead of 2019 World Cup and also puts pressure on Kuldeep as well as Yuzvendra to do their best as well. But for now, Jadeja justified his comeback call in ODIs, just like he did in the final Test vs England at The Oval.