Politicians getting caught while watching porn in the assembly and then trying to ban who caught them, fact that you will have to see a naked Poonam Pandey if India wins, Anil Kapoor not getting an Oscar for his scintillating performance in Mission Impossible-4 and THAT elusive ton which is just not coming – what else perturbs you? Well, there is one name which will surely find its way to the list of mentionable - Ravindrasinh Anirudhsinh Jadeja.
When I first saw him, he was walking his way back to pavilion after having no clue against prodigious swing bowling of Pakistan’s Anwar Ali in U19 cricket world cup finals - 2006. Next time, Jadeja was playing a crucial part in India’s U19 victory in 2007 U19 world cup. If he has been part of two U19 world cup finals, he must be special, I thought. Very soon he was trying to reduce the deficit of defeat against Sri Lanka in his debut match where he joined esteemed list of Praveen Amre, Saba Kareem by scoring a half century in his debut match. Soon after, he was hero of Rajasthan Royal’s IPL victory with Shane Warne calling him a superstar.
One must give the devil his due. Jadeja is an exceptional fielder. Australians who played in second T20 match against India this season would endorse this.
In domestic circuit, Jadeja plays a crucial role in winning matches for his home side – Saurashtra. His all-round abilities play a major role in Saurashtra’s performance, whatever that is.
Jadeja can bat, at least in India. He even has a triple hundred in Ranji Trophy. For those who want to yell “So what?” - do not forget that a triple hundred in any level of cricket isn’t an easy feat to achieve. Even Sachin doesn’t have a triple hundred.
Jadeja can bowl. His left arm spin does prove to be more than useful sometimes especially in sub continental conditions.
He is young, just 23 years old and we should all be seeing cricket’s future through him.
But - and that is a big but, every time he makes it to Indian team, almost 1.25 billion jaws drop, daggers come out looking for whoever selected him and god is left overworked in answering the prayers – “Oh God, please make him slip in the toilet, hit the commode and lose all his front teeth. Then let him collide with opposition’s best two pacers who can bowl bouncers capable of beheading your own avatar on this planet and let all three of them get forced to retire after the collision” Even Suresh Raina joins the prayer because it involves retirement of two bowlers who can bowl bouncers.
Okay, I cooked it up but don’t we all pray for him to fail, fail miserably, so miserably that he announces to retire in disappointment of his miserable failure and ends up opening a barber shop.
We all want him to fail and never ever get selected in Indian team. Only other time I saw this Pan-India agreement on any issue was when legendary actor Uday Chopra announced his retirement from acting or whatever he claimed to do. We all thanked him for wonderful times, not what he gave to us but what we shall have in his absence from silver screen. Only if Tussssshar Kkkaporr could be so magnanimous, we thought.
I am no different from anyone of you for two reasons – one, we live in a democracy where one must stay with the majority unless he/she is dreaming of becoming UP’s chief minister and two, I think I have figured out why I don’t like Jadeja.
Problem with Ravindra Jadeja is that he reminds me of our forgettable past. I mean 90s. Jadeja is so 90s.
Under the lights in Hyderabad, India was up against a daunting task of chasing 351 against Australia. Sachin almost won it single handedly but being Sachin, he gave me a chance to use the word “almost”. Like in Chennai-99, he got out when India was within touching distance of the target. Like Chennai-99, he left India’s left arm spinning all-rounder to do the rest. Again, like Chennai-99, left arm spinning all-rounder thought Sachin was asking for a company in the dressing room. He followed Sachin, like our left arm spinning all-rounder had followed him in Chennai-99. Jadeja became Sunil Joshi on that night.
Next few matches, I saw Jadeja either panicking and running out his partners or being too adventurous and running out himself. I could see a Sanjay Manjrekar in him.
When he was sent ahead of Yuvraj in T20WC09 against England and his batting abilities were trusted, he played a key role in slowing down the run rate and our defeat by 3 runs. That day, Jadeja reminded me of certain Sameer Dighe who looked more clueless against bouncers than Raina does.
When Jadeja gave away those six sixes in six balls in T20 world cup, he looked pretty much like Ajit Agarkar.
He could never win a match from a position which had a challenge worth writing about, but he kept doing his bit to secure a place in the side – what he did to secure his place remains debatable.
In fact when Jadeja and Ashwin won chasing against Sri Lanka after is-he-our-next-Sachin Virat Kohli got out with target not being so distant, he reminded me of that famous Srinath-Kumble partnership.
Jadeja reminds me every bit of our players in 90s. Mediocrity could never win us matches but it could score those half centuries in lets-bring-down-the-deficit causes. We didn’t have match winners those days. But we had enough players who helped us count till 11. And they kept themselves in that 11.
But the problem is that it doesn’t end there. In fact its gets magnified now. Those who just made the numbers had no airs about themselves or at least never allowed us to know of it. This doesn’t happen in this age – proofs may well be available on youtube. To add to it, mediocrity never got paid in 90s and I found solace in it. These days, it gets paid and paid handsomely. The price that was paid for buying Jadeja in IPL is no secret.
Seeing the recent performances and considering the soon-to-come retirements of performers-in-last-decade, I am afraid that Jadeja’s case keeps reminding me with that fact that 90s is back. And to make the matters worse, this time it is valued in millions.
PS 1: If you are Jadeja fan, please read this carefully, take a printout, fold it, dip it in your favorite sausage and eat it. You can also munch it if you want. I don’t care.
PS 1: If you are Jadeja yourself, sorry mate. I am no fan of yours. I shall be happy if you prove me wrong and make me eat a printout of this article. But please don’t waste those millions of dollar on suing me. Like you, I am also not worthy of them.