Ravindra Jadeja last played for India on March 16. That match, against Bangladesh in Dhaka, will always be remembered for Sachin Tendulkar and his historic 100th international hundred. The Saurashtra all-rounder didn’t do much (4 runs & 1/32) in the game which India lost and subsequently crashed out of the Asia Cup. A string of poor performances in that tournament and the one preceding it (CB Series in Australia) saw him face the axe.
Now talk of fightbacks. Eight months on, he has notched up two Ranji Trophy triple hundreds in the space of 20 days! What’s more, his 320 not out against Railways on Sunday earned him membership into an elite club of batsmen with three triple tons in first-class cricket. Jadeja had scored his maiden triple (314 vs Orissa at Cuttack last year). And, he kickstarted this season with an unbeaten 303 against Gujarat at Surat on November 12.
Now here’s the list: Donald Bradman has six triple tons; Walter Hammond and Bill Ponsford four each; WG Grace, Graeme Hick, Brian Lara, Michael Hussey and Jadeja have three each. When DNA contacted him on Sunday, Jadeja wasn’t ecstatic. In fact, he sounded too philosophical for a man about to turn 24 (Dec 6).
“When the season started, I told myself I must get back into the Indian team. And I know I have to score runs. Things were difficult. I realised I hadn’t worn an Indian jersey for over six months. Maine decide kiya ki mujhe lambe, lambe innings khelne hain (I figured I had to score big hundreds). Well, scoring 50, 60, 70 or even a 100 doesn’t get you anywhere. So that’s how I inspired myself to score triple tons,” Jadeja said.
After scoring 645 runs and picking up 13 wickets in just four matches, Jadeja seems to be at peace with himself. “A person who scores two triple hundreds can’t be technically inept. But I am not here to prove anything to anyone. I am just trying to prove myself right. But there were many who thought I couldn’t play long, patient knocks,” he added. Jadeja’s performance could prompt the selectors to pick him again. And we are talking Test cricket here. In any case, the No 6 slot is vacant since Sourav Ganguly’s retirement in 2008. If the Yuvrajs and Rainas and Badrinaths deserve a chance, then so does Jadeja.