It’s often very surprising how much a single incident changes ones entire life, or in the case of a player, their entire career. On July 1st 2019, Sanjay Manjrekar called Ravindra Jadeja a bits-and-pieces player, and Jadeja’s career made a sudden ascent.
Many opined that Manjrekar’s comment was blown out of proportion and Jadeja’s reply on Twitter was good enough. But Jadeja chose to answer with his performances on the field too. No one except Jadeja knows if Manjrekar’s comments motivated his on-field performances, but it is clearly open to speculation.
Let’s see how Jadeja’s career went on post Manjrekar’s comments.
Note: Stats as of 31st December 2020
Prior to Manjrekar’s comments, Jadeja was more of a utility batsman. He definitely had the skills, but he often played the second-fiddle to the other batsmen. In fact, in his first-four years as a batsman, he averaged only 20 in tests. Starting from 2016, though his batting stats showed a good growth, he was often criticised for playing unnecessary shots.
Post Manjrekar’s comments, Jadeja showed some great improvements as a test batsman. His average has shot from 32.30 before Manjrekar’s comments to 55.10 after the comments. And the consistency with which he scored runs is remarkable. In the 12 innings he has played after Manjrekar’s comments, he has scored 5 half-centuries.Embed from Getty Images
Surprisingly, his bowling stats show a little decline post Manjrekar’s comments. A reason for that could be the fact that he has bowled less often in the past 2 years when compared to his early career. His bowling average has increased from 23.7 to 30.9 while the strike-rate remained almost the same, close to 30.
When it comes to his batting stats in ODIs, the improvement is just remarkable. His batting average and strike-rate were 30 and 84.2 respectively prior to Manjrekar’s comments. And post-Manjrekar’s comments, Jadeja has averaged a whopping 62.7 with a strike-rate of 106.5. In this same period fall three of Jadeja’s best innings as a batsman: his 77 against New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup Semi-Finals, his 55 against New Zealand in Auckland in which he almost won the match for India and his scintillating 66* against Australia in Canberra.Embed from Getty Images
Post Manjrekar’s comments, Jadeja as a bowler has had a forgettable journey. He has only picked 14 wickets in 17 games at a heavy average of 55.6. Prior to Manjrekar’s comments, Jadeja averaged 35.9 per wicket!
Jadeja has ruled the T20s post Manjrekar’s comment. He has averaged 50.5 in six innings from then striking at close to 150. This includes his best T20I knock of 44* in the recent series against Australia .He has become a brilliant finisher for the team in the recent past. Prior to the comments Jadeja has had a strike-rate of 93.5 and a forgettable average of only 9.7 with the bat.Embed from Getty Images
Even with the ball, Jadeja’s average and economy improved from 31.7 and 7.27 respectively to 21.1 and 6.26.
As it can be noted from the above stats, Jadeja has become exceptional with the bat in all the formats of the game. In bowling, he still continues to be dangerous despite his stats showing a decline in both tests and ODIs. And in T20s, his skillset has improved by miles with both the bat and the ball.
A good batsman and a bowler with exceptional fielding skills, Jadeja can walk into most world-class teams easily. And now, he isn’t a bits-and-pieces player anymore. I’m sure, Manjrekar too will agree.
Featured Image: Ravindra Jadeja |Instagram
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