For Ravindra Jadeja, getting his maiden Test century was certainly special as it took him six years since his debut to reach the three-figure mark.
The all-rounder had scored an 86 and 90 in Tests against England but could never cross the hurdle in the previous 37 Tests in addition to the 140 ODIs he has featured in.
Fittingly, Jadeja achieved the feat at his home ground. And now that he has, Jadeja dedicated the unbeaten knock — also his very first century in international cricket — to his mother who is no more.
“I dedicate this century to my mother. It was my mother’s dream that I play for India. Today she is no more.
“This is a special day. I can’t gift anything bigger than this to anyone. So, this century is for my mother,” Jadeja said after stumps on Day II of the first India-West Indies Test in Rajkot.
Playing with No. 10 and No. 11 batsmen — Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami — did not put extra pressure on the left-hander. In fact, Umesh and he stitched 55 for the ninth wicket that took Jadeja closer to his hundred.
“It is a very special knock as well as a day because in the past I got to 80s and 90s but wasn’t able to convert them into hundreds. Today, I was not really worried and not thinking about the runs. I just did not want to play any loose shot and looked to play till the last ball.
“I just didn’t want to play a wrong shot and get out. I kept talking to Umesh and Shami, and told myself that I needed to play till I score 100,” he said about his knock.
Returning to the team at The Oval and then playing a significant role in India’s seventh Asia Cup triumph, Jadeja seemed pleased with his performance over the past one month.
“When you are not in the playing XI consistently and get a chance all of a sudden, there is obviously pressure to perform. You feel that this chance that you have got needs to be utilised.
“Even in England, I had in mind that I have got a chance and so, I have to do well. I am lucky that I performed well with both bat and ball in England. And then in the Asia Cup, I got opportunity and did well there too.
“I am working hard to develop my game as much as possible. If you see in the whole of 2018, I have played only about five-six matches. Suddenly you get a game and you have to perform in that, which means you don’t have so much time to think and luckily I have done well in the Test in England and in this one too.
“Overall, I am happy with my batting and bowling,” Jadeja elaborated.
Asked why he needs to prove himself even after almost 10 years of international cricket, Jadeja came up with a witty reply. “Good that you know I have been playing for almost 10 years. I must have done something right if I have managed to play for that long.
“I don’t know if you noticed that I did well in the 13 Tests we played at home the previous… See, my job is just to prove myself. Sometimes I miss out because of the team requirements.
“If there are more left-handers in the opposition 11, then an off-spinner is preferred. If there are more right-handers, then I am the one who’s preferred.”
Apart from scoring a century and picking up a wicket, Jadeja was also in the thick of things during a terrible mix-up between Shimron Hetmyer and Sunil Ambris.