With Ravindra Jadeja selected over Ravichandran Ashwin for four Tests, the stakes were high with criticism waiting if Jadeja failed. Over the years, Ravindra Jadeja has grown into a beautiful all-rounder. He has been brilliant with the bat and is one of the best spinners in the World with the ball. However, the rise of Ashwin leads people to forget Ravindra Jadeja’s exploits with the ball over the years.
Ravindra Jadeja has had some stunning performances overseas, with a four-fer in Sydney earlier this year and a five-fer in South Africa to go with some of his brilliant performances. Throughout this series, though, Jadeja’s role has come into question several times. While he was picked to provide batting cushion, his bowling was not utilized as much, with the pacers going well, until the Oval Test.
Jadeja finally got an excellent opportunity with the ball in the Oval Test and did a brilliant job. His performance was quiet compared to Rohit Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, and Umesh Yadav, who was bright on comeback. While Ravindra Jadeja was not as noticeable as them, his role was key to the Test win. He impacted being his silent self, and that is how he has been throughout his career.
In the second innings, Ravindra Jadeja bowled thirty-overs, which he has done a lot overseas. He provided the fast bowlers with rest and allowed Virat Kohli to rotate his bowlers in short bursts. His beauty to dismiss Haseeb Hameed came as a boost, and the ball amplified Ravindra Jadeja’s role in the side.
Over the years, Ravindra Jadeja’s role as a bowler has been to bowl a bulk of the overs in long spells, constantly hitting one spot. His pace makes things challenging, and with turn-on offer, Jadeja is a very dangerous bowler. Even in the presence of Ashwin, Jadeja would be the one who creates pressure bowling in the same spot, while Ashwin varies his length and pace in a bid to get wickets. The tireless Jadeja was active once again in Oval with a long and valuable spell.
Along with a tireless spell, Jadeja made use of the rough on the track. Virat Kohli spoke about how Jadeja could use the rough to turn the ball into left-handers at the toss. The statement was a touch strange with Ashwin having a brilliant record against left-handers, but Kohli’s faith in Jadeja paid off nicely.
Jadeja’s use of the rough helped find turn and helped Jasprit Bumrah find a reverse swing. With Jadeja constantly smashing the ball into the rough, the ball wore off faster and allowed the ball reverse in a series that didn’t see reverse swing at all. With the ball reversing, Bumrah broke into a magnificent spell and had the support of Jadeja at the other end to help build pressure on the English batters.
While Jadeja was brilliant with the ball in a final day shootout, the Test saw him in a new role with the bat. He walked in to bat at number five in both innings. Jadeja did look comfortable with the bat in this series, playing some handy knocks lower down the order, and his promotion helped India mix up the left-hand-right-hand combination in the middle-order. He also gave time to out-of-form players like Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant by coming in at number five. The move didn’t work out, though, with Jadeja getting out early, but it had promise and may be repeated.
The last Test wasn’t the first time Jadeja took control of the spin attack in a long day on the field. He did so at the MCG in 2018 and in South Africa and Lords seven years ago. He has to lead the attack in the past and held one end up like he did last week. His persistent line ensured England couldn’t get much off him, and Jadeja took the chance to remind the world that he is a competent spinner himself. With the spotlight off his performances in the past, Jadeja finally got an opportunity to step out of a supporting role, and he fought well to play a crucial role in a famous overseas win.