Hello. My name is Ravindra Jadeja. I am regularly known as ‘Jaddu’, ‘Rava’ or, most recently, (I like this one) Jaddugeddon. As we speak, I am making my test debut for India at Nagpur in 4th test for the India vs England Test Series 2012. It is the opportunity I have been waiting for, for 365 days now, and intend to make it memorable. The series is on a knife-edge, and Team India needs a savior- a new hero who can help us maintain our proud home record. I have a feeling that this is MY destiny.
I am Cloud 9
Before the First Class Ranji Trophy season 2012, I was known more for my IPL and T20 exploits around the globe. Okay, around India only. I am known as the ‘2 million dollar man’, ‘the 10 crore playah’ and a Chennai Super Kings all-rounder. My first season with Rajasthan was most special, but I value Mahindra Singh Dhoni’s confidence in me to be able to pay so much to buy me in 2012. It is a pity we lost our IPL and Champion League titles with me in the team, but in no way can that be attributed to my performances. Whenever I got the chance, I tried. Coming in at 6 or 7 did not help my cause, and there is only so much one can do while bowling left-arm spin for 2 overs every game. I was not quite sure of Dhoni’s picking of me every game, but I guess he has a longterm strategy. In any case, I am currently the highest Ranji scorer this season- with, get this, 2 triple centuries in 5 games. Most players wait all their lives to have this record to their name- 3 triples in total- but I have hit a domestic purple patch. Clearly, the Rajkot pitch suits my batting style. Maybe not my bowling style.
In the 3 games at Rajkot for Saurashtra this season, I have scored 303, 331, 70, 68. Before 9th November 2012, my first game against Gujarat this season, I was probably never considered to be a Test Player or a player for the longer format- thanks to a lot of smartass experts who have constantly criticized my value in the ODI and T20 formats. Agreed, that I have not exactly set the international stage on fire, especially during the 2009 T20 World Cup where my innings eliminated Team India from competition. But Dhoni sir has great faith in me, even now, and I will repay it at Nagpur. Okay, if not at Nagpur, maybe in the longer run. After all, I can’t be dropped after playing one test…can I?
Also, due to my lack of batting opportunity in the middle order in ODIs and T20s, I decided to work more on my bowling. Yuvraj Singh inspired me to do so in the 2012 World Cup, and it is therefore an irony that I have replaced him in Test Cricket. Yuvi bhai will hit back, but hopefully not at my cost. We need him, I think, in a long run. So my bowling has always clicked in great spurts- and given the right pitch (non-Rajkot pitch), I can establish myself as a batting all-rounder. 6,3,0,4,4 are my wickets this season, the last 4,4 coming in Rajkot on a crumbling pitch against a strong Bengal side. I single-handedly won Saurastra that game, and therefore, I have fasttracked friends like Rahane, Rohit Sharma and Tiwary into the Test team. I am proud of this achievement.
Confident, Sexy Killer
Right now, though, as I stand in the field looking at my team try their best against England, I am not entirely convinced that this was a rational decision made by the selectors. It may not have been the best time to enter the test team, in the LAST test of a lost series, with not much hope in the horizon. If the team fails on a whole, which it is right now, I could be made a scapegoat too. That will not do justice to my reputation in first-class cricket or IPL either. My 2 triples may have ensured that my contract with CSK will last another season and despite my failure in IPL 2012, I am worth every penny- but I do not know if Test Cricket is for me right now.
Why? You ask. Because I was made to come at number 7 in the batting line-up AGAIN by Dhoni sir- after the bulk of the scoring was done. My opportunity was snatched by a struggling Kohli and Dhoni himself, and I realized that I was actually the Fourth spinner in the side- not replacing Yuvraj Singh, but the other Singh Harbhajan! Ojha’s success made them pick me, not Yuvraj’s failures. My two triples didn’t make them pick me, or I would have batted at 4 if they valued those runs. But we all know who is at 4. For how long, though? (Sorry for questioning these things, but it is now my nature to do it. My hair and tattoos have worn off long back)
So basically, my 4 wickets in the test so far are all I’ve been picked for. To bowl long spells and keep the batsmen quiet. Yuvi, when fit, could do that- but he is not. I wonder, though, that if a batsman with 3 first-class triples will bat at number 7 (one lower than VVS who had two triples), what is Dhoni sir really upto?
Singing Away into Oblivion
And why are we losing a Home series against England? And what am I doing bowling my 50th over for the match? And why was I told to hit out or get out (just like in T20s) when I came in to bat and Dhoni sir got out? I will never understand Dhoni sir, but I value his confidence in me of course. If not for him, I would not be confused with my role in his teams- but if not for him, I would not even be playing in these teams.
This Nagpur Test is the beginning of the end for many, but it could be the end of the beginning for me. I don’t intend to become great because of my lower middle-order role, but if Dhoni sir is sacked now, I could be batting higher, no? (Forget my T20 performances okay? I am in Whites now)