Ever since MS Dhoni handed over the reins of the limited-overs team to Virat Kohli, question marks have been raised over his place in the team. But the former India skipper once again showed his true class in the game against Bangladesh on Friday. With stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma bringing Ravindra Jadeja into the attack, Bangladesh batsman Shakib Al Hasan looked to put the spinner under pressure before Dhoni used his tactical acumen to fox the Bangladesh all-rounder.
Back in the Indian ODI team after the Champions Trophy, Jadeja was handed the ball by Rohit in the 10th over of the Bangladesh innings. And Jadeja started off a bit rusty as Shakib looked to take full advantage of the situation. He first sent the ‘free-hit’ ball into the cover boundary and then swept the next one from outside off to the square-leg boundary. This is when Dhoni understood the plan and walked up to Rohit and asked him to move Shikhar Dhawan to square-leg from first slip.
The very next ball landed into the hands of Dhawan at square-leg as Shakib tried another sweep. One in the bag, Jadeja turned a different bowler and ended with figures of 4/29 from his 10. Once again, Dhoni showed the world why he is one of the best when it comes to reading game situations and the mind of the batsmen.
#AsiaCup2018 – Super Four Stage – Bangladesh vs #India: @msdhoni lending his experience to plot Shakib’s wicket. @cricketaakash @virendersehwag @MohammadKaif @BCCI @bhogleharsha pic.twitter.com/gGAPkESON3
— Rahul Dogra (@rahulsimpact) September 22, 2018
Jadeja kept count of the number of days he was out of India’s One-day squad and once in, he made it count with four wickets, and stated “I don’t have” to prove anything to anyone.
The left-arm spinner, who is also a handy bat, returned, in his own words, after around 480 days, with very impressive figures of 4/29 and bagged the Man-of-the-Match Award in India’s seven-wicket win over Bangladesh in the Asia Cup.
“I will always remember this comeback because I returned to the team after a gap of around 480 days. The earlier gaps have not been this long,” Jadeja told reporters at the post-match press conference.
Making a statement of sorts, he said, “I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. What my ability is, I need to sharpen it. I don’t have to show anyone what I can do. I need to challenge myself.”
With less than a year left for the 2019 World Cup, Jadeja might have sent a timely reminder to the selectors about his prowess, but he said he was not thinking that far ahead. “Can’t think about it now. My focus is to perform in this series,” he said.
The Saurashtra cricketer is known for his ability to bowl his spinning deliveries quickly. “On a slow wicket, you have to bowl with more of your own effort. On a normal wicket, the ball goes through quickly after bouncing so it doesn’t give the batsman as much time. But on a slow wicket you have to bowl with more effort,” said Jadeja.
Regarding the last-minute developments prior to his latest limited overs comeback, he said, “I didn’t know that I got a call for one-day team because I was playing for Vijay Hazare. I didn’t know what is going on here. Day before I got call from the selector, he said I might have to go to Dubai, so be ready.
“I was playing Test cricket. Last few series were away so I didn’t play in it. I was concentrating on what is in my control, how to improve my game in away conditions. When I got a chance in England, I did well. Here, unfortunately, Axar (Patel) got injured and I got my opportunity and did well.”
Asked about Sunday’s Super Four match against arch-rivals Pakistan, he said, “Be it India-Pakistan or any other country, playing for India is a matter of pride. But India-Pakistan is something everyone is excited about.”
First Published: Sep 23, 2018 15:01 IST