Kedar Jadhav has become a household name since his exploits in the first One-Day International (ODI) against England at Pune on January 15. The pint-sized cricketer smashed a 76-ball 120, which included 12 boundaries and four massive sixes, which guided India to a spectacular three-wicket win vs England while chasing a monumental target of 351 set by England. But do you know how the 1.65-metre tall cricketer gets his power?
Former national selector Surendra Bhave has revealed how an absolute vegetarian like Jadhav added power to his small frame once he started having chicken. The 31-year-old is the son of a former Maharashtra State Electricity Board employee Mahadev Jadhav and they hail from a vegetarian family.
"You can surely give this credit to me. It was me who made him eat chicken," laughed Bhave, who played 97 first class matches for Maharashta.
"I don't want to take credit for his stardom. I am like his coach, elder brother, mentor and guide, who meet on an off or exchange a few texts. The last time (in 2010-11) I told him that his backlift looked astray and he immediately corrected it resulting in an amazing transformation," said Bhave.
He fondly recollected the first time he saw a young Kedar during a Cooch Behar Trophy game against Kerala where he blasted 195 from 262 balls at the Nehru Stadium.
"I instantly knew he was special. With the kind of ease he was hitting the Kerala bowlers was really different. His body language always looks casual but he's someone who loves to take on the opposition and finish the match," Bhave said.
Bhave feels that Kedar is an all-format player, who can keep wickets better than a lot of specialist keeper.
"I've little doubts that he is an all format player. I've seen some of his best knocks in multiday cricket. He can bowl, give breakthroughs and his wicket-keeping is better than any specialist," said Bhave.
"We have seen his wicketkeeping for Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils. Clearly he's multi-talented."
Bhave remembers Kedar's match-winning century against a formidable Mumbai two seasons ago in a Ranji Trophy at the Wankhede Stadium.
"The ball was darting around and doing everything. Zaheer bowled some astonishing deliveries but Jadhav showed he has the technique to flourish even in seaming conditions," Bhave said of Jadhav.
"He's someone who loves to bat till the last. He is a player of three formats. I always knew there's no stopping him, he had to rise some day. He is the best cricketer to come out of Maharashtra for a long time."
His fitness was found wanting matching to Kohli in running in the Pune ODI as he developed cramps but Bhave felt that Jadhav is fit enough for the rigours.
"He's supremely fit and it was just one of those days. Moreover Pune was extremely humid that day following rains earlier. Obviously we cannot compare his aerobic ability with that of Virat but he has no fitness issues at all," Bhave said.
The duo also share amazing rapport from his coaching days.
"We begin our chat over the video analysis on his laptop and end up seeing one his innumerable Salman Khan dance numbers. The iconic belt-wiggling Salman move is his favourite. No wonder that he's 'Dabang' to his India A teammates," Bhave concluded.
(With PTI inputs)