The inclusion of Ravindra Jadeja in the playing XI for the Boxing Day Test against Australia proved to be one of the major moves made by the visitors. The left-arm all-rounder scored a gritty 159-ball 57 and picked up 3 wickets, guiding India to a terrific 8-wicket win.
Impressed with Jadeja’s top-class performance, former Indian cricketer Deep Dasgupta compared him with ace English all-rounder Ben Stokes. In a conversation with Sports Today, the former India international stated that Jadeja has always been a talented batsman but he never took his batting seriously until 2017.
“Jadeja replacing Virat Kohli in the 2nd Test was one of the things in my mind because of the way he has batted in the last couple of years. Generally, people think about Jadeja that he is a bowler who can bat, someone who hasn’t capitalized much in Test cricket.
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“But I always thought he has actually done better than a lot of batsmen in the last couple of years. He’s getting runs across all formats, and also as recently as last year he was the world’s top-ranked Test bowler,” Deep Dasgupta told Sports Today.
Since 2016, Jadeja has the highest batting average – 46.29, and bowling average – 24.97 – among the top Test all-rounders. England’s Ben Stokes (42.34 and 27.59) and former Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan (38.48 and 26.03) are behind him on the list.
He continued his rich form in Melbourne where India returned strongly after the Adelaide horror and defeated Australia to level the series 1-1.
“As of now the way he’s batting he definitely is [in the same bracket as Ben Stokes]. Even during the IPL, I actually said why not him at No. 4 for CSK. He’s got a couple of triple hundreds in domestic cricket, getting runs there is not easy.
“For Saurashtra, he bats at No. 4 but for India, he comes in at 7 or 8. Somehow I felt that he never took his batting seriously enough. In 2017, he was dropped from the side but and I think what kind of prompted him was the fact that he wanted to make himself more useful to the team, not just with the ball but with the bat as well.
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“He always had the skillset with the bat but earlier on, he would play terrible shots and get out. But now he’s putting a price to his wicket, he’s thinking and batting like a batsman and that I think has changed in his batting in the last few years,” Dasgupta said.