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Man with the golden arm, Ravindra 'Sir' Jadeja turns 28

India Today logo India Today 06-12-2016
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Star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja has filled a long void in the Indian Test team, that of a quality cricketer who can bowl, bat and field with equal effect. Jadeja, in a very short span of time, has transformed his game and become a key member in Virat Kohli's team, especially when India play on home soil.

Jadeja, who turns 28 today, made his Test debut four years back against England in Nagpur and immediately made an impact picking up three wickets and over the years he has proved to be the ideal spin partner for Ravichandran Ashwin in the longest format.

The Saurashtra cricketer has already picked up 95 wickets in just 23 Test matches at an average of 24.69 with five five-wicket hauls in total. Jadeja's record in limited-overs cricket is also impressive - 147 wickets in 126 ODIs, 31 wickets in 39 T20Is - although he really comes into his own in the longest format where he gets the opportunity to express himself with the bat and ball.

Jadeja is very clear in his mind whenever he comes out to bat - for him, attack is the best form of defence. Being a left-hander obviously helps his cause and he has played some important knocks lower down the order. Two of his best innings came against England in contrasting conditions but under very similar circumstances.

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India's famous victory at the Lord's Test in 2014 came courtesy Ajinkya Rahane's brilliant hundred in the first innings and Ishant Sharma's seven-wicket haul on the final day of the Test match. But what many people don't remember is Jadeja's contribution in India's second innings where he took on the likes of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Liam Plunkett, Moeen Ali on a green top wicket in typical English conditions and smashed 68 runs off just 57 balls with nine boundaries which took India's second innings lead past England's reach as the hosts lost the match by 95 runs.

Ishant was adjudged Player of the Match and Rahane was lauded for his magnificent 103. However, it was Jadeja's knock which propelled India's total from the safe zone to a zone from where they could afford to attack the hosts with all their might.

India, in the midst of their busiest home season in nearly 40 years, are playing 13 Test matches. Jadeja got the perfect opportunity to show his class on home soil, where he has been one of the most consistent and effective bowlers for India over the past couple of years. He was second on the list of most wickets taken by bowlers in the recent India-New Zealand series with 14 scalps in three games at 24.07. Ashwin could not have asked for a better bowling partner as the duo hunt in pairs and have the ability to turn a game on its head in the matter of a session or two.

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The recent Mohali Test which India won by eight wickets saw Jadeja performing at his best. India were in deep trouble in their first innings and were reduced to 204/6 going after England's 283 when Jadeja and Ashwin came together and shared a 97-run stand for the seventh-wicket. Ashwin made 72 while Jadeja played an unselfish knock and perished on 90, falling just short of what would have been his maiden Test hundred. But he put the team's cause ahead of his personal milestone and attacked with the tail enders to help India take the upper hand in the match. Jadeja also picked up four wickets to be named Player of the Match as India clinched an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

Jadeja's marriage with Riva Solanki in April this year also seems to have turned around his fortunes. Ever since he tied the knot, Jadeja has been in spectacular form and has become a tremendous asset for Indian cricket. Runs, wickets, run outs, Jadeja has done it all this year and has prospered under Kohli's captaincy. He is here to stay for sure and we wish him all the best for future.

Happy Birthday Jaddu!

Watch: Virat Kohli & Anushka Sharma attend Yuvraj Singh's wedding

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