Calcutta: Ravindra Jadeja had the huge responsibility of replacing a full-time spinner in the ongoing India-South Africa Test, in Durban. And to his credit, he has so far scored good marks in the test.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni must have had a lot of faith to drop Ravichandran Ashwin and bring in Jadeja in the playing XI. True, Ashwin was not in great form, but still Jadeja is only seen as a bowling all-rounder. It’s not easy to carry the burden of being the lone spinner in the side.
But having taken four of the five wickets to fall so far in South Africa’s first innings, Jadeja has done justice to the faith shown in him. Quite understandably, Jadeja was happy with his bowling on Saturday.
“I am very happy with my performance… This is the first time I have got four wickets outside India. Critics have always said that I can only spin the ball while playing in India. So this feels great,” Jadeja said after the day’s play.
Speaking about his game plan, Jadeja said: “There is a bit of turn in the wicket… I was trying to bowl a fourth or a fifth stump line. I have been working very hard on that. I was just trying to bowl consistently in that line. I knew the odd ball would turn, and fortunately I got the wickets. The wicket is very good for bowlers. The odd ball is bouncing and the odd ball is turning.”
He further added: “I mostly bowled over-the-wicket to the left-handers, especially to Graeme Smith… That’s because there is rough just outside the off-stump of the left-hander. I was bowling close to the stumps and trying to pitch the ball there. The idea was to make the batsmen give catches off bat-pads. Even if the ball hit the pads only, the lbw would have come into the picture.”
He attributed his success to the hard work he did at the nets. “During the first Test, when I was not playing, I bowled a lot in the nets with the Kookaburra ball… Just to get used to the ball. Overall, I am happy with my bowling and would love to get a couple more when we come out to bowl on Sunday.”
With the wicket getting slower, Jadeja stressed on the need to take the remaining South African wickets quickly. “The wicket is getting slower and slower and we need them to get all out as early as possible. Our batsmen will also have to score heavily in the second innings,” he said.
For Jadeja, AB de Villiers’ wicket was the most crucial one among his four scalps. He also added that India’s primary task on Sunday would be to remove Jacques Kallis, who is batting on 78.