Mumbai: Andrew Symonds was once sledged by the Englishmen for being in the Australian team simply because of his fielding ability and not for bowling or batting. Currently, there is a player in the Indian team who appears to be in the team simply for his fielding rather than bowling or batting - Ravindra Jadeja.
Since Jadeja's million dollar deal (Rs 9.72 crore approximately) for the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League on February 4, he has failed to hit the high notes in key roles to save the game against Sri Lanka in Perth on February 8 when he bowled a tidy 10-over spell of one for 41 and followed it up with an unbeaten 24 that helped India coast to a four-wicket win.
In the big loss to Australia here on Sunday night, the left-armer did not even get a bowl and when he got a chance to shine with the bat, he got out trying to hit out despite a well-set MS Dhoni at the other end. Coming in to bat at 82 for five with 28 overs still to be bowled, it was ideal chance for him to bat until the 50th over.
An inclusion in the playing XI against Sri Lanka here today will afford him an opportunity to show his true colours.
At the press conference, Dhoni said, "people like Jadeja or Raina are worth 20 runs in the field."
True, what worth is a player who might save 10 runs but cannot get a decent score, and at times, does not even get a bowl.
Jadeja is defended at times because he bats at No 7 and Dhoni believes it is a difficult position to master. But, what role does Dhoni want Jadeja to master? The Saurashtra lad does not have the ability to finish off an innings by hitting boundaries neither does he have the shots to score quickly especially on bouncy wickets. His bowling does not do any justice either.
In the ongoing series, he has bowled 32.4 overs and conceded 190 runs at an economy rate of 5.86 runs an over. He has only managed to get a solitary wicket. With the top order not scoring runs and the part-timers still bowling a few overs, it may be worth it for Dhoni to play an extra batsman at the expense of fielding stalwart Jadeja.
Jadeja's barren run
* T20I at Sydney: 7 runs, 0-23
* T20I at Melbourne: 1-16
* vs Aus at Melbourne: 19, 0-41
* vs Sri Lanka at Perth: 24*, 1-41
* vs Aus at Adelaide: 12, 0-50
* vs SL at Adelaide: 3, 0-58
* vs Australia at Brisbane: 18