The Saurashtra all-rounder has not played a Twenty20 for India for two years, but he has proved his adequacy as a player of much value in Test matches. He scored 86 not out against England at The Oval last September, a 100 not out against the West Indies at Rajkot in October and an 81 against Australia at Sydney (in January 2019); he was also among wickets.
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The 30-year-old’s ODI luck changed for the better at the misfortune of another all-rounder — Hardik Pandya, who after initially being chosen for Twenty20 and ODI home series against Australia in February this year, was rested to tend his vulnerable lower back.
The series against Aaron Finch-led Australia offered Jadeja a last chance to win a place in the Indian team for the World Cup. Jadeja’s numbers were not great in the four matches — 45 runs and three wickets at 63.33.
In the previous ODI series in Australia that India won 2-1, he scored eight runs in the one match he got to bat and took two wickets at 75.00 in three matches.
These circumstances may not have helped his cause, but Jadeja has always been a scintillating fielder at point and in the deep. That and his wicket-to-wicket bowling kept him in the fray. The selectors kept this in mind and he was chosen ahead of a fourth specialist fast bowler. They also looked at him as a second left-hander after Shikhar Dhawan (Rishabh Pant was not in the original squad for the World Cup).
India skipper Virat Kohli showed more faith in the wrist spinners – Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav – for a significant part of the competition in England and it was only in the last league match that Jadeja got the nod. He bowled ten overs for figures of one for 40 against Sri Lanka and continued his good showing (one for 34 in 10 overs, and 77 of 59 balls ) in the semifinal against New Zealand.
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Overall, after India’s deflating defeat against Pakistan in the 2017 Champions Trophy, Jadeja was given opportunities in 19 matches and his numbers are 209 runs (batting at No. 7 and 8) in ten innings and 21 wickets at 39.67 in 183.overs. Jadeja did not figure in 44 ODIs after the 2017 Champions Trophy.
Jadeja who recently took offense to Sanjay Manjrekar calling him “a bit and pieces” player would be up for the challenge in the opportunities that comes his way in the Caribbean Islands.