In cricket, it is not always a number eight batsman gets a chance to score a Test hundred. However, India’s number eight, Ravindra Jadeja on Day three of the Mohali Test did get the opportunity to score his maiden Test ton. But surprising everyone, batting on 90, Jadeja stepped out against Adil Rashid to hit him out of the park and eventually ended up offering a boundary-line take for Chirs Woakes.
The 27-year-old all-rounder, who earlier in his innings in this Mohali Test, showed great restraint during a partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin and Jayant Yadav missed out on a well-deserving century. But he doesn’t have any regrets about this.
“The shot that I got out to is my pet shot,” Jadeja said, addressing the media after the end of day’s play. “I can hit six anytime with that shot. I had the confidence, but the ball came rather slow off the wicket and that’s why I didn’t get the required impact. I am not disappointed that I got out to a shot like that,” he added.
During this particular knock, Jadeja showed a lot of patience. He was ready to take his time, leave balls outside off-stump for the most part. However, after Lunch on Day Three, he certainly changed gears and was charged Woakes to hit him for four boundaries in an over.
“I didn’t go on an attacking mode, they were bowling boring lines outside off stump, We had a lot of time at our disposal so I just thought that let’s disturb the bowler, going outside the off-stump and try to use the area on leg-side as there were only two fielders that side. That’s what I was trying and luckily I got four boundaries in that over [of Woakes],” Jadeja said, talking about that particular phase of play.
The Saurashtra all-rounder who has three triple hundreds to his name in first-class cricket is often being criticised for underperforming with the bat at the international level. However, after becoming the top scorer in an innings in the Mohali Test match on Monday, Jadeja once again reminded the journalists about his batting credentials.
“It’s not that I consider myself as a batsman, I am a batsman,” Jadeja asserted when someone asked whether he has become more responsible while batting which was evident in his defensive game during the course of his knock.
“I have been scoring runs in first-class cricket at an average of 53 [43 as per ESPNCricinforecords], if you leave aside Test matches, that is. It’s not the first time that I have made 90 runs. Yes, may be a first in Tests but I have an idea that I can bat. I wasn’t in a hurry, since it was a slow wicket with less turn. I knew after 50, 60 or 70 balls, I can up my scoring rate,” Jadeja mentioned.
When he was asked to compare his 68 at Lord’s with Monday’s knock, the southpaw said, “I think any good innings that you have played for India is important. Even during this innings, we were in a situation where we were 5 for 150 (156) and from that situation to guide the team to a good position was challenging. Jayant Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin and myself spoke to each other, build the innings and luckily we are now in a good position considering that they are still 70 behind [56 actually] and are four down.”
In the history of Indian Test cricket, it is the first time that batsmen from No 7 to 9 have scored 50 plus runs in the same innings and Jadeja said that it proves a point that lower-order too can bat.
“Any team will have a plus point if its lower middle order is contributing. If the last 7-11 can give 50 to 100 runs extra for the team it’s a bonus. Luckily everyone is contributing, which is a good sign and also an indication that it’s not only the top-order that’s contributing. We have batting till No 9 and we can score runs. Everything that’s happening is for good.”
But Jadeja did stress that spending extra time on batting at the nets has helped the team.
“It’s not magic. Just a bit more focus, spending some more time batting at the nets, talking to batting coach, mentally prepared for certain situations where you need to take more responsibility. Ashwin is scoring runs, he has scored around 500 runs this season. I am also trying to score as many runs as possible to help the team,” he said.
Finally, following a good day in the office, Jadeja was in jovial mood and when one asked him to explain about his trademark sword celebrations, he said, “That’s a Rajput trademark style, nothing special. It’s just that I can’t carry a sword into the ground!
Originally published at cricwizz.com