Ravindra Jadeja’s form in recent times has been a massive source of worry for the side. The Saurashtra all rounder underwent an ordinary World Cup and neither his bowling, nor his batting could do any miracles for India. Skipper MS Dhoni too was highly critical about the all rounder and at several post match press conferences, Dhoni would indirectly criticize Jadeja. Post the semi final loss to Australia, Dhoni made it clear that Jadeja was not playing the role he was designated to and he would not be a part of the side for long on if he played in the same style.
Jadeja was the second highest ODI wicket taker in 2013, and was the chief architect behind India’s triumph in the 2013 Champions Trophy in England. He carried on that form till mid 2014 and the Indian bowling often revolved around the exploits of Shami and him. However, during India’s tour of New Zealand in early 2014, the spinner displayed signs of wearing out and was easily countered by Kane Williamson. Jadeja averaged 60.25 with the ball in that series. Nevertheless, he had a productive ODI series in England and did well with the bat as well as with the ball.
An injury though, ceased the revival in his form and he was doubtful for the World Cup. Jadeja eventually made it to the World Cup, only to struggle miserably at the grand event. In the 2015 World Cup, Jadeja scored 57 runs in 8 games at an average of 14.25. His bowling stats too painted a sorry portrait of him. With the ball, Jadeja had 9 wickets in 8 games, at an average of 39.66.
Such performances only made room for the following question – Is it time to look beyond Ravindra Jadeja in ODI’s? In this article, we have a look at the five potential candidates, who can replace Jadeja in the near future if he fails to deliver over a period of time.
1. Axar Patel:
Like Jadeja, Axar too is more of a spin bowling all rounder. Patel’s main strengths lie in bowling stump to stump at a quick pace. Another similarity between Patel and Jadeja is that both do not rely on flight to take wickets. Patel has already impressed the Indian management with his performances in the 13 ODI’s he’s played. In 10 innings, Axar has 16 scalps to his name at a decent bowling average of 25 and a miserly economy rate of 4.41. Axar is already a part of the Indian squad, and he seems to be the likeliest to replace Jadeja.
2. Irfan Pathan:
Once termed as the next Kapil Dev, Pathan disappeared from the international arena for the worse. The Baroda all rounder has been around the Indian setup for more than a decade. However, his career never got the boost which it deserved. It’s terrible to realize the fact that Irfan took a five for in his previous ODI in 2012, and since then hasn’t represented India in an ODI! With 173 ODI wickets to his name in 120 games, Pathan is the safest option to replace Jadeja. After all, he is a seam bowling all rounder, which is a rare breed in India! Pathan is no mug with the bat as well. Nevertheless, injuries have taken a massive toll on Pathan’s career, and in order to have any chances of a comeback, he must remain injury free.
3. Stuart Binny:
Like Axar Patel, Binny too is a current member of the Indian ODI squad. This seam bowling all rounder burst onto the scene after taking a magical six – for against Bangladesh in 2014. He registered figures of 6-4, the best for an Indian. He bowls at a decent pace and has recently improved his fitness. Binny can be trusted with the bat as well. Against England, in the Carlton Mid Tri Series just prior to the World Cup, Binny played a responsible knock of 44. That knock was enough to remind viewers that he can surely be trusted with the bat.
4. Rishi Dhawan:
Agonizing is probably the only word to describe the way Dhawan has been treated by the selectors till now! Looking at his statistics, he should have made his debut for India atleast a year ago! The Himachal Pradesh all rounder averages just 24.72 with the ball in first class cricket! Even the spearheads of teams in the Ranji Trophy do not have such a fine bowling average. Not to forget, his batting average is 40.39! Dhawan has represented India A in several tours and has utilized his opportunities to the core. In the quadrangular tournament final against Australia A in mid 2014 in Australia, Dhawan along with Axar Patel staged a miraculous partnership for India A, which eventually won them the game! He remained not out on 56 as the Indians chased down the total after being down and out. Dhawan surely deserves a call up to the Indian squad.
5. Hardik Pandya:
Pandya is the ‘out of the box’ candidate. He played a key role behind Mumbai Indian’s triumph in the recent IPL. Pandya reassured viewers that pace bowling all rounders were still present in India! In the last few games of the tournament, Pandya bowled in excess of 138 km/hr and his bouncers were too hot to handle for some respected names. While batting, he struck the ball fiercely and when he made contact, the ball often disappeared out of the park. Judging Pandya, it can easily be said that he has all the abilities which are needed for a reliable all rounder. All he needs is, efficient grooming. To make the best use of his form, he can surely be drafted into the limited overs setup of India.