Amidst his rise as a white-ball bowler, Ravindra Jadeja's batting form is a concern
A stat about Ravindra Jadeja becoming only the second Indian to complete a double of 2000+ runs and 200+ wickets popped up against Bangladesh after he dismissed Shamim Hossain in the 35th over. After this stat, many casuals would have formed an opinion about the greatness of Ravindra Jadeja. It’s not a mean feat, or many would have achieved it.
However, the stats can be deceiving if not looked into properly. While this is a remarkable achievement, Ravindra Jadeja’s recent batting form is a concern. It might sound strange to those who witnessed the IPL final, but it is what it is.
In the ODIs since 2022, Ravindra Jadeja has 174 runs at a mediocre batting average of 24.85 and a shocking strike rate of 57.61. These numbers are unacceptable for a lower middle-order batter in the 50-over format. Jadeja acts as a finisher in the Indian line-up.
As good as Ravindra Jadeja’s been in Tests, his numbers have shrunk significantly in the ODIs. The worst part is this decline has come when the team India can least afford. There was a significant rise in Jadeja’s batting during 2020 and 2021, where he could smash pace easily, but that rise could stay for a very short time and even shorter in the blue jersey.
Since 2022, Jadeja has faced 27.45 balls on average but manages to hit a boundary every 27.45 balls in the ODIs, which is atrocious for a designated finisher. Among all the batters to have batted in at least ten innings and faced 300 balls, Ravindra Jadeja’s strike rate (57.61) is the worst among the players in the top 15 ODI rankings since 2022. The southpaw has crossed the 30-run mark only once in this period.
Ravindra Jadeja in the ODIs (Dot%/BpB):— CricXtasy (@CricXtasy) September 16, 2023
From 2019-20: 41.6/12.22📈
Since 2022: 58.9/27.45📉
Ravindra Jadeja's batting form is a massive concern for India, with less than a month remaining for the World Cup. #AsiaCup2023 pic.twitter.com/fdKcpnmjoi
Jadeja has played ten or more deliveries in 10 innings since 2022, and his strike rate has been below 70 in nine of those knocks. While he has been consuming balls, Jadeja has never accelerated. Of the 42 deliveries in the death, Jadeja could assemble only 30 runs while hitting only a solitary four since 2022.
When Ravindra Jadeja peaked three years back, he turned into a beast against pace bowling. Unfortunately, that has not been the case with him in the last two years. Since 2022, Jadeja has struck at a mere 52.48 while taking around 25.85 deliveries for every boundary. Furthermore, Jadeja has played 65.19% dots and hasn’t hit a maximum either.
For the record, his numbers are relatively better against the spinners, but even they aren’t anywhere close to moderate. Jadeja has faced 121 deliveries against the slow bowlers and gone at a 65.28 strike rate while taking around 30.25 balls for every boundary. He has played 49.58% of deliveries without making any runs while hitting only four boundaries since 2022.
He has been getting starts, but for some reason, Jadeja couldn’t take his innings anywhere almost every time. His innings progression shows a worrying trend.
Barring the 61+ balls block, where he has faced only nine deliveries, Jadeja’s strike rate hasn’t even touched 60 in any other phase. He starts slow, moves slow and ends slow. The boundaries, if any, come at a struggling pace as well.
Ravindra Jadeja’s bowling has seen a surge in white-ball cricket this year. He has made slight adjustments to reap better returns. But while his bowling expertise has escalated, his batting is declining significantly.
The prime worry is Ravindra Jadeja’s recklessness with the willow. At times, he tries to force things desperately without sensing the demand in the game. For example, Ravindra Jadeja played a poor shot against Bangladesh last night when all he needed to do was support Shubman Gill. It was an unnecessary stroke, where Jadeja lost his shape while forcing it.
Another similar incident took against the West Indies in Bridgetown earlier this year. After piling dot balls and putting pressure on himself, Jadeja tried to force his way out only to give an easy catch to Keacy Carty. He left India in the troubled waters, and the team bundled for 181.
Meanwhile, his counterpart, Axar Patel’s returns have been contrasting. While his batting credentials have given a fine indication, Axar is still trying to find his areas with the ball. His bowling is not suited for the 50-over format for now.
Axar generally bowls with flatter trajectories, with his ball going with the angle at a settled pace. Hence, this version of him requires more help from the deck to operate effectively in white-ball cricket. His lengths and pace variations have also been questionable at times.
Moreover, according to their batting skills, Ravindra Jadeja is a better pace hitter and more fit for the No. 7 position. Meanwhile, Axar plays spin better, and he can’t smash the speedsters as powerfully as Jadeja in the slog overs, despite the recent improvements. His batting is more suited for around No. 5 in 50-over cricket.
Axar Patel also sustained injuries during his valiant knock against Bangladesh last night, leaving India with only Ravindra Jadeja. While India would have preferred Jadeja anyway, they at least had a substitute. Jadeja’s recent form means too much workload on the top six.
Ravindra Jadeja should fix his issues with little time left before the World Cup. India can’t afford this version of Jadeja in the mega event. The game against Bangladesh yesterday exposed the so-called batting depth.
While India might persist with Shardul Thakur, they can’t trust him in this format. Shardul Thakur has hardly done anything with the stick in the ODIs. If Ravindra Jadeja doesn’t step up either, India are in for more close defeats like yesterday in the global tournament.