Ravindra Jadeja has had a rough couple of years due to frequent injuries. A first-choice pick in Test XI and a utility player in India’s white ball teams, Jadeja’s impact goes beyond his returns with the bat and ball. His all-round ability, best-in-the-world fielding and a rare left-handed option in the Indian batting order make him a must-have in any format. His recent knee injury has come as a big jolt for India, and the team has already witnessed the impact of his absence against Pakistan in the Super Four round T20I of the Asia Cup. We take a look at how his presence helps India and the ways his absence could hurt the team going forward.
A left-handed option
Apart from being an all-rounder, the biggest advantage of having Jadeja in the XI is him being a left-handed batter in a batting lineup dominated by right-handers. With a majority of the teams fielding one leg spinner in their bowling attack and/or a left-arm orthodox, Jadeja adds variety to the Indian lineup.
India have the luxury of having Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik as finishers. That allows the team to use Jadeja as a floater as per the situation. It came to the fore against Pakistan in the first round of the Asia Cup, where he came to bat at No. 4 to counter the bowling of Mohammed Nawaz and Shadab Khan, and the move paid off brilliantly.
1 person, multiple boots to fill in
In Jadeja’s absence against Pakistan in the Super Four round, India failed to fill in Jadeja’s shoes, making multiple changes. Even Dinesh Karthik, India’s designated finisher, had to sit out to accommodate an out-of-form Rishabh Pant to add a left-hander. Despite that, the XI looked more imbalanced with Deepak Hooda, who was replacing Avesh Khan, not bowling a single over.
Jadeja might not be an attacking option as a wicket-taker, but his economical returns have provided much-needed support to the other bowlers. His batting against pace makes him the perfect finisher alongside Pandya and DK. In the fielding department, there’s probably none better in the Indian team than Jadeja. This makes his unavailability for the remainder of the Asia Cup a big headache for the Indian management. His fitness before the World Cup will be keenly observed as he is a vital cog in the Indian lineup.