Jadeja begins a new innings at 42!

Jadeja begins a new innings at 42!

Jadeja begins a new innings at 42!

If the Ranji Trophy opener between Mumbai and Haryana marks the end of Sachin Tendulkar’s journey on the domestic circuit, it heralds the return of his team-mate Ajay Jadeja after a hiatus. 

The 42-year-old Jadeja, who once opened the innings with Tendulkar, before spot-fixing allegations brought an end to his international career, has returned to first-class cricket this year with the Buchi Babu tournament.

“The love for sport was a motivation, the fact that someone think you have something to give or share is a great satisfaction. I am here not only as a player. I am not sure whether will I play or not tomorrow. I am still on trial and if I am good enough to stand with them, then I will. My first and foremost priority was to come and spend time with the boys and share my experiences,” Jadeja told Deccan Herald.

Jadeja said he was lucky to be Tendulkar’s team-mate for so many years. “I have not played against him very often, but my best memory of playing against him will always be the win in 1991 Ranji Trophy final. I was blessed to have spent time with him for 7-8 years, morning, evening and night. I have kept a bat for him to be signed after this match.”

Asked to describe his most memorable Tendulkar moment, Jadeja said:  “It is tough to pick one but I think the first Test match he played, even though television wasn’t as clear, but the moment he drove Waqar (Younis) past once he got hit.

I have seen him in moments like when he came back in the World Cup after he lost his father; during Sharjah, when none of us could get going and he stood alone. Then again in 2003, there was new generation who was giving him competition but no one could come close to his space in the game.”

“I believe next couple of games (Tests) will  be the greatest moment because the guys who came after him, were striving to beat him are all gone. He has seen them all off and he should cherish that. The best evenings when you are 18 and 42 are not the same. At 16, there was different best to look at, at 40 he is showing another best. There are great moments even today.”

The prospect of facing someone like Tendulkar could throw the even the best in the business in awe. So, what advice would he give to his bowlers against Tendulkar? “All I have to say to my boys is that I have seen him getting out more than getting hundreds. It takes just one ball,” said Jadeja, his face breaking into a smile.

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