India’s Ravindra Jadeja suddenly caught everyone’s attention when he claimed the top spot in the ICC Test Bowlers rankings for the first time in his career. After a stunning performance in the recently concluded Bengaluru Test, Jadeja joined his spin partner Ravichandran Ashwin as the top-ranked bowler with 892 points each.
This is the first instance of when two spinners jointly hold the top spot in ICC rankings.
Famously known as “Sir Jadeja” a moniker given to him by former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the 28-year-old has emerged into one of the most dangerous strike bowlers in the world who is capable of breaking partnerships and equally effective in building up the pressure from the other end in the supporting role.
His figures of 6/63 in Australia’s first innings in the second Test played a major role in denying the visitors a big innings lead. In the second, the Saurashtra-born cricketer gets only one wicket but played a pivotal role in maintaining the pressure by not leaking away any easy runs. He bowled eight overs in Australia’s 2nd innings out of which five were maidens and gave away only 3 runs after. Since his return to Test cricket in November 2015, Jadeja has become a prime force in world cricket for Team India who can bowl tidy spells, pick up crucial wickets, and can use the long handle to supreme effect when needed the most.
Another interesting aspect about Jadeja is that he continuously bowls a probing line and length that continuously test a batsman’s skill. The left-armer also bowls his overs quite quickly which barely gives the batsman any chance to settle down on the crease.
Jadeja made his Test debut against England at Nagpur along with Joe Root who made his debut in the same Test match. Consistent and encouraging performances in the limited over format lead to his natural progression into the Test circuit, often playing as the third spinner and even as the fourth spinner in the team. Despite that, the young cricketer never lost hope and slowly build his reputation as team’s premier spinner. He contributed with both bat and bowl and gradually won the trust of his captain – MS Dhoni.
Jadeja turned eyeballs when he struck three triple centuries in Ranji Trophy for his side Saurashtra and backed them up with 24 wickets in five matches in the 2012-13 season. Today, Jadeja is one of the most vital cogs in Team India’s Test setup who can win matches single-handedly for his side. After an average 2014 and 2015, the all-rounder made his comeback to the Indian Test team against South Africa at home. From there, he's never looked back.
“Rockstar” Jadeja now holds the record for most wickets by a left-arm spinner in Test matches in a single season. His tally reads 51 wickets in 10 Test matches in 2016-17. Jadeja went past former Indian captain Bishen Singh Bedi who had the record of 47 scalps in 8 Tests, he played in the 1976-77 season.
Unlike other spinners, Jadeja boasts off a lot of variations in his arsenal. He brilliantly varies his pace, his trajectory and the angle to bamboozle the best of the batters.
In 28 Test matches so far, Jadeja has picked up 129 wickets at an average of 23.44 which includes 7 five-wicket hauls and one ten-wicket haul. With the bat, Jadeja has fared decently as well, as he has scored 1464 runs in a same number of matches at an average of 26 which he will certainly like to improve.
With two more Tests to go, Sir Jadeja has a great chance to go past his partner Ravichandran Ashwin from the top spot. The pace at which he is improving that possibility cannot be ruled out either.
Another match-winner in the making!