Not a bits and pieces cricketer!

Not a bits and pieces cricketer!

Ravindra Jadeja isn’t the most talented player India has seen with fielding being the strongest aspect of his game. His left-arm spin is rather accurate than exciting while his batting has a few rough edges. Still, he is anything but a bits and pieces player that he was branded as by Sanjay Manjrekar.

The former India batsman didn’t see the riposte coming so swiftly and strongly by an angry Jadeja. First came a Twitter rant, even if slightly over the top, by the Saurashtra player questioning Manjrekar’s credentials as a player as opposed to himself, and then came his valiant half-century in the semifinal against the run of play that almost took India home when it seemed all over for them. While an Indian win would have been a perfect icing on the cake, Jadeja had done more than enough to make the Mumbaikar eat his own words.

Jadeja couldn’t have had a better match, only his second in the tournament despite doing well in the two warm-up games, where he displayed his three-dimensional game. He was brilliant in the field, taking an excellent catch on the line and effecting the run-out of Ross Taylor with a direct throw from square leg, from where he could see just one stump. Earlier he had bowled an economic 10 overs, giving away just 36 runs and dismissing Henry Nicholls with a beauty of a delivery. And finally came his batting with India done and dusted at 92/6 in a chase of 240.

Bit by bit, Jadeja pieced together an innings that would have gone down as one of the greatest ODI knocks had India gone on to win the match. Before that bigger task, Jadeja had a small business to take care of as he brought up his half-century. The customary twirl of the bat came rather belatedly, and the southpaw followed it up with a spread of his arms towards the commentators’ box as if to ask Manjrekar, “you have anything to say now?”

Timing is one of the most critical aspects of a batsman’s game, and Jadeja couldn’t have timed his innings better.

Skipper Virat Kohli termed Jadeja as a “priceless” cricketer while paying rich tributes to the all-rounder. “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, with the bat… Priceless, so he's had a great game today.”

Kohli said none of the team members had spoken to Jadeja following his outburst on Twitter against Manjrekar but that he was just pumped up to prove a point.

“I don't think we, any of us had to say anything to Jadeja after what happened over the last one week,” said Kohli. “He was quite ready to just get on to the park, to be honest. 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 and he's got three triple hundreds in first-class cricket if I'm not wrong, so the talent has obviously always been there.

"And in my watching (of) Jadeja for 10 years, me playing with him as well (from U-19 days), this is probably his top quality, like best knock according to me because the kind of pressure, the stage we are at, almost out of the game and then he produces that. So, he was very motivated,” he explained.

Kohli, who appeared to be saying 'ho jayega' (this will be done) in the dressing room when Jadeja was batting with M S Dhoni, admitted he thought India would pull off the chase.   

“Yes, at that stage, we all felt like in the changing room the game can be closed out, it can be done, but then again, he played so well and a mistake can happen at any stage -- I don't think it was even a mistake, it was lack of execution which in one-day cricket you have to take a risk here and there.”