MANCHESTER: Ravindra Jadeja who had been sidelined from India’s limited-overs set-up for 15 months following their defeat to Pakistan in the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy had to slog his way back into the side. A powerful hitter down the order, Jadeja is also a brilliant fielder, yet he was the only member of the squad not to have played a game before India’s final league game against Sri Lanka.
The semifinal was Jadeja’s only second opportunity in the tournament and when the match got over on Tuesday many were left wondering why he was not given enough chances before. His valiant effort — a heroic 77, an incredible direct hit to remove Ross Taylor and a brilliant catch at the boundary — wasn’t enough to save India.
India skipper Virat Kohli admitted that Jadeja has been understated. “I’m really happy for him because he’s been a very understated cricketer but a top quality cricketer for India in the field, with the ball and with the bat. He has been priceless,” said Kohli.
Jadeja had a run-in with former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar after he called the all-rounder a “bits and pieces player”.
Kohli said Jadeja has been pumped ever since. “I don’t think we, any of us had to say anything to Jadeja after what happened over the last one week. He was quite ready to just get on to the park. And you saw the passion with which he played and we have seen it in Test cricket a few times, he’s played knock under tremendous pressure,” he said.
Kohli said the team members were devasted after being eliminated from the World Cup. “I think the game pretty much changed in those first 40 minutes when we were batting. The pressure created was immense in those first 40-45 minutes. And when you lose 3-6, it is very difficult to come back into the game. Still, our effort was commendable,” he added.
Mum on MSD
Kohli refused to speak about the impending retirement of M.S. Dhoni who could possibly have played his last international match on Wednesday. “I know nothing about it,” said Kohli.
Throughout India’s World Cup campaign, there were plenty of discussions about Dhoni’s strike rate. Kohli said Dhoni always played according to the situation. “I think today he was batting with Jadeja and there was only Bhuvi to follow after so he had to hold one end together. As Jadeja was playing so well you needed a solid partnership. Dhoni’s knock was outstanding today. When you don’t win in hindsight, a lot of things can reflect in different manners,” he added....