A few months ago, Ravindra Jadeja created a buzz among the Indian social media with his 'Sir' tag. But skipper MS Dhoni's favourite was keen to make his mark on the team and prove everyone wrong and has done that emphatically. Be it Test matches or the shorter formats of the game, Jadeja with his all-round ability has helped his team win on numerous occasion of late.
On Sunday during the ICC Champions Trophy final in Birmingham, the left-handed batsman came in at a crucial stage and scored an unbeaten 33 off 25 balls, including two boundaries and two sixes, which allowed India post a decent target of 130 in their allotted 20 overs. Later on, with the ball, he took 2 for 24 from his four overs to help India clinch the final by five runs. This showing fetched Jadeja the Man-of-the-Match award, along with 'golden ball' for most wickets in the tournament (12).
During the Champions Trophy, Jadeja was nothing less than spectacular. The 24-year-old scored a quickfire 47 in the opening match against South Africa and followed it up with a five wicket match-winning haul in the second match against West Indies; and in the process also became the first Indian spinner to get a five-wicket haul in England. He kept his form alive throughout the tournament and played a pivotal role in helping India clinch the silverware.
Jadeja came in for strong criticism and media scrutiny in 2009 when he was selected for the World Twenty20 in England. He made his tournament debut in the Super Eight round against England. At 24 for 2 and chasing 154 to win, then coach Gary Kirsten made a surprise decision to send Jadeja at No. 4 ahead of Yuvraj Singh, Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan. Jadeja seemed totally off the ball and managed 25 runs off 35 deliveries when quick scoring was required. Soon everyone was calling for his head as he was booed off the pitch by a large fraternity of the Indian crowd. This set in motion a period of social media digs at Jadeja's caliber as an international cricketer.
He was not selected for the World Cup in 2011 and his comeback into the team seemed doubtful. Even though he hit a purple patch in the Ranji Trophy and became the first Indian with three triple-centuries, eyebrows continued to raise over his ability. Jadeja was called into the Indian Test team following his good run in last season's Ranji Trophy with India 2-1 down against England. He made a decent Test debut that helped him keep his place for the series against Australia. That series turned out to be a game-changer and he has not looked back since.
Jadeja emerged out as the second-highest wicket-taker for India with a tall of 24 wickets, behind lead spinner R Ashwin (29). Despite criticism, the Saurashtra allrounder kept his impressive form intact and justified his place in the playing XI. Jadeja's sudden transformation from a mediocre player to an exceptional allrounder couldn't have come at a better time for the team. While Yuvraj continues to fight for a place in the team, Dhoni might see Jadeja a possible replacement for the star of India's 2011 World Cup campaign.