The downfall of Kedar Jadhav: The Indian batsman was among the five players who have been dropped for South Africa ODIs.
India batsman Kedar Jadhav had the sword hanging over his head for sometime now. There was this unvoiced opinion which was waiting for him to fail in his ODI role of being a finisher. With the same happening of late, Jadhav has been dropped from India’s ODI squad for the imminent three-match series against South Africa.
Post the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, Jadhav’s age (34) had come under the scanner for a lot of concerns were being raised against the low probability of him carrying on to play international cricket till the next ODI World Cup in 2023.
Fair enough. But should that be a criteria for dropping someone who generally scores the “tough runs” in the death overs? Certainly not. Did age really play a part in Jadhav’s ouster? Probably yes. Was Jadhav at par with his counterparts? Surely yes. Did Jadhav do that bad to get axed? Debatable!
Never like to be proved right when it is about career of a player. During New Zealand tour, got the feeling and said it on many platforms that #Kedar Jadhav is unlikely to feature again in ODIs. New selection committee has taken the first obvious call. #BCCI pic.twitter.com/gs6GDyE2vy
— Vimal Kumar/विमल कुमार (@Vimalwa) March 8, 2020
32 out of Jadhav’s 52 ODI innings have come at No. 6. Therefore, it would be only be fair to compare his numbers with batsmen who have batted at the same position in the same format in the recent years.
Since the start of 2016, Jadhav has scored 867 runs in 29 innings at an average of 48.16 and a strike rate of 106.77 at No. 6. In this list, Jadhav is only behind England wicket-keeper batsman Jos Buttler whose 1,425 runs in 42 innings came at a lower average (44.53) but a better strike rate (113.54).
For batsmen who have scored more than 500 runs in this period at No. 6, Jadhav has the third-best average and second-best strike rate.
Buttler and Jadhav continue to dominate the first two positions even in the last two years. While Buttler’s 554 runs came at an average of 46.16 and a strike rate of 108.41, Jadhav scored his 468 runs at an average and strike rate of 42.54 and 93.22 respectively.
The downfall of Kedar Jadhav
Despite being the second-best batsman across the world in the role given to him, Jadhav getting dropped can be hard to digest but it appears that his recent form didn’t augur well for him.
In the last 12 months, the right-hand batsman scored 269 runs at an average of 33.62 and a strike rate of 92.43 including a lone half-century.
Three of Jadhav’s last five innings see him scoring 26* (15) against New Zealand in Hamilton, 16* (10) against West Indies in Visakhapatnam and 40 (35) against West Indies in Chennai. These might not be heaps of runs but came in crunch situations when Jadhav came in to bat in the last few overs.
Further mulling over his numbers, one understands that Jadhav doing well when the Indian top-order did well and not doing well when the top-order failed perhaps forms the biggest reason behind his downfall. Jadhav continually being found wanting in situations when the team needed him to score big in the last one year or so has worked against him. Being a finisher, Jadhav further not contributing actively in chases also witnessed him amidst severe criticism.
Jadhav, whose wicket-taking ability had converted his status to that of an all-rounder for a brief period, not being invited to bowl by captain Virat Kohli saw him getting benched for Manish Pandey recently.
Having bowled a mere 11 overs in his last 12 ODIs, the last of Jadhav’s 27 ODI wickets had come against Australia in Nagpur more than a year ago. Getting reduced to a “specialist batsman” made things all the more difficult for him.
A below par performance in the last season of the Indian Premier League (162 runs at an average of 18 and a strike rate of 95.85) followed by a similar performance in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (222 runs at an average of 24.67 and a strike rate of 120.65) further extends Jadhav’s lean patch.
Continually doing well at No. 6 is no mean task. While Jadhav has erred in the given role in the recent past, him not scoring runs for Chennai Super Kings and Maharashtra had it in it to hint the selectors regarding his diminishing skills.
With IPL 2020 coming up, Jadhav will be looking to press a case much like many other players for another lacklustre season is likely to make an international comeback a daunting task for Jadhav.