Young Jayant Yadav may have had to wait for an awfully long time before he finally got his first big break in international cricket, replacing Hardik Pandya in the final one-dayer against New Zealand in Vizag last month.
In a match in which Rohit Sharma finally ended his woeful form with the bat, and Jayant's senior Haryana teammate Amit Mishra ran through the Black Caps' batting order with a five-wicket haul, the rookie off-spinner quietly went about his business, doing his part in the destruction of the Kiwis with an economical spell, and getting his maiden international wicket in the process.
Aside from bit of an issue involving his mother's name on the back of his jersey (which the Indian players sported as part of BCCI and broadcaster Star's initiative), it was more or less an ideal start to the Delhi all-rounder's international career, even if he bowled only four overs in the match.
His figures could have read 2/8, had it not been for a dropped chance by Ajinkya Rahane in the slips, but Jayant will be content with having made some impact, which would have played a part in him earning another call-up, this time to the Indian squad for the first two Tests against England.
Having made his domestic debut in 2011, Jayant showed promise early in his career as an all-rounder, picking six wickets in his debut for Haryana against Gujarat, in a winning effort, and slamming a double-century and sharing a 392-run stand with Mishra a year later.
He kept progressing as a spinner, topping the wicket-taking chart in the 2014-'15 season of the Ranji Trophy with 33 victims at an average of 17. In the following season, he boosted his batting credentials once again by sharing a 206-run stand with Virender Sehwag (who had moved to Haryana from Delhi by then) while batting at No 4.
While his domestic feats were still not impressive enough for him to grab a spot in the national senior team back then, he did get compensated for by getting picked into the India A squad against the touring 'A' teams from South Africa and Bangladesh in mid-2015. The other reward was an Indian Premier League (IPL) contract worth Rs 10 lakh with Delhi Daredevils, although he had to warm the bench for sometime before finally getting a shot against Sunrisers Hyderabad, in which he removed England ODI skipper Eoin Morgan.
There was hope that he would finally get the chance that he deserved when the Indian selectors picked an inexperienced squad led by MS Dhoni for the tour of Zimbabwe, but the likes of Faiz Fazal, Yuzvendra Chahal got to make their debuts ahead of him. However, luck did not give up on him yet, and he eventually got his shot a few months later.
The only time Jayant has ever had a shot against the Englishmen was during the the latter's warm-up fixture against Haryana at Motera ahead of the 2012-'13 series. Among Jayant's most cherished memories would be his dismissal of leading English batsman and Test skipper Alastair Cook, who had by then taken over the leadership role from Andrew Strauss, and went on to top the run-getters' list in the 2012-'13 series (562 runs at 80).
Given the fact that even Mishra isn't sure of getting a place in the XI in the upcoming Test series, Jayant will not play his hopes up too much. However, as was the case in New Zealand's tour of India, a stroke of luck is not something that he will rule out entirely. It will be the realisation of a dream for him if he can get rid of Cook again, but while donning the Indian jersey this time around.
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