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30 May 2021
Dynamic Indian all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja revealed how he went through a dull phase post the 2017 Champions Trophy finals when he almost lost his place in the team. Jadeja spoke about the time when he was almost thrown out of the team with the influx of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal the spin duo who ruled the limited-overs circuit for a brief period of time.
"Honestly, those one-and-a-half years were filled with sleepless nights. Through that phase, I remember I would be up till 4-5 am. I would be thinking about what to do, how am I going to bounce back?” Jadeja told Indian Express in an interview.
The 32-year-old would not be able to sleep and because he didn’t get many opportunities to showcase the talent, Jadeja was getting restless. "I was in the Test squad but not playing as we played a lot overseas. I wasn’t playing ODIs. I wasn’t playing domestic too as I would be travelling with the Indian team though not playing. I wasn’t getting any opportunity to prove myself. I would keep thinking about how I am going to come back," he said.
However, as always in everybody’s life, there comes a second chance and for Jadeja, it was the Oval Test in 2018 that did the trick. "That Test changed everything for me. Poora (complete) game,” said the man who scored a belligerent 86* and also picked wickets in the non-consequential last game of the series. “My performance, my confidence, everything. When you score in English conditions against the best bowling attack, it greatly impacts your confidence. It makes you feel your technique is good enough to score anywhere in the world,” added the Jamnagar born.
Hardik Pandya’s back injury also played a major role in Jadeja’s entry into the limited-overs team. Since then he hasn’t really looked back and why should he. The Saurashtra all-rounder has scored 878 runs and 55 wickets in 16 Tests, 497 runs and 33 wickets in 32 ODI games since 2018. This also includes the 77 off 59 balls that he scored in the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup.
Apart from his knock, what is remembered best from the World Cup is his signature sword celebration pointing towards the commentary box, signalling to Sanjay Manjrekar who had termed Jadeja as a ‘bits and pieces player'.
Talking about the incident, Jaddu said, "Tab toh Bhatta garam tha, na! (The grill was hot, then!) I was searching for the commentary box. Then I thought, it must be somewhere there, only. And those who understand would know who I was targeting the celebration at! (laughs)."
The all-rounder who is now an integral member of the team in all formats would be travelling with the team which would play the World Test Championship Final in Southampton against New Zealand, starting June 18. He would also feature in the five-match Test series against England that would start in August.