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Allround Jadeja thrives in the spotlight

ADELAIDE: India’s efforts on the bowling front have left a lot to be desired so far in the tri-series. It was only the return of Zaheer Khan in Perth which ensured that skipper Dhoni didn’t have to turn to his part-timers in the game against Sri Lanka.

That wasn’t the case in the opening game at the MCG against Australia, where Dhoni’s ploy of playing three spinners backfired and he had to use as many as eight bowlers, including Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, in a rain-shortened 32-over affair.

Against Sri Lanka, though, latest IPL ‘double millionaire’ Ravindra Jadeja made his presence felt along with Zaheer and R Ashwin. The 23-year-old allrounder conceded 41 runs in his 10 overs, besides removing the dangerous-looking Tillakaratne Dilshan. With Vinay Kumar and Praveen Kumar too coming good, the bowling combo worked nicely. Then, as the Indian middle-order lost its way, Jadeja featured in a crucial 53-run stand with Ashwin to save the day for India.

As a number-eight batsman, Jadeja can work the gaps, run hard and play the big shots when necessary. As a left-arm spinner he is a handy asset. His fielding is exceptional too. Given that he enjoys the skipper’s confidence, Jadeja could continue to be that vital link for India both with ball and bat. He will no doubt have been inspired to see Lankan spinner Sachithra Senanayke keep a check on the Aussie batsmen with figures of 10-0-45-2 on Friday. India will be hoping Jadeja will be keen to prove a point in the day-night game against Michael Clarke’s men on Sunday. He had had a poor first game against the Aussies after all, going for 41 runs in just 2.4 overs.

Appreciating Jadeja’s role, Dhoni said, “It is very important to guide him. He is young, not to forget that he’s come back into the side after people had a long talk about whether he’s a bowling allrounder or a batting allrounder. He will learn a lot while bowling on wickets outside India, where he needs to vary his pace more than the length because he may not get the same turn as he gets in the subcontinent. We are still struggling to find a fast bowling allrounder so his appearance in the side gives us the kind of stability that is needed.”

Asked about not giving an opportunity to Irfan Pathan, Dhoni said, “I don’t think he’s got much of an opportunity. He has come back and we would like to give him a few games.”

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