There was no way Kedar Jadhav would have known the conversation between skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri as soon as he left the team dug-out to join MS Dhoni in the middle during India's chase of 237 in the first one-day international against Australia in Hyderabad on Saturday.
Of course, he would have been aware that India had made just 19 runs in six and a half overs since Kohli's dismissal. The captain revealed after the game that he indicated to coach Ravi Shastri that this phase of the game would give them some clues. "Their partnership was outstanding. The way they took responsibility was outstanding," Kohli was to say later.
Truth to tell, Jadhav's knock in Hyderabad will have increased the confidence of the team management in his abilities that surfaced early in his international career. A half-century when batting at No 6 has taken some time coming — in terms of number of days since the 90 he scored against England at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata in January 2017.
It must be remembered that the might of India's top-order batting and, occasionally, his own injuries have needed him to bat at this slot only in 11 innings since that knock. And he has remained unbeaten on seven of those occasions. It was the first time that he had the opportunity to complete his half-century and steer India over the finish line.
To be fair, the last time he made a half-century was the unbeaten 61 against Australia in Melbourne in January but that came when he batted at No 5. He had shared an unbeaten 121-run stand with Dhoni to help India win the game and clinch the series 2-1. It had been a while when he walked in with the team facing such a challenge.
The unruffled manner in which Jadhav went about the task would have pleased everyone but the opposition attack. If he felt pressure as he walked in to bat at 99 for four, he did not show it. The countenance he wore reflected his confidence and belief that the 138-run gap was one that could be bridged.
Of course, it helped that Dhoni was at the other end. Dhoni continued to play sensibly, happy with the anchoring role that has seen him score four half-centuries and be dismissed just twice in the last six innings. More important than just his own score, it was the positivity that the seasoned campaigner exuded that rubbed off of Jadhav.
"Every time I bat with him and spend time with him, I learn a lot," Jadhav admitted. "I can't put it in words. Every time I see Mahi bhai, I feel confident. That sort of aura is like, that you see him and feel that 'I will deliver today'. He has the knack of getting the best out of every player and that's what everybody loves about him."
Then again, while acquired confidence went some way in assuring him, Jadhav was on top of his own batting. He had done well with the cricket ball, sending down seven effective overs, and had assessed the track. He buckled down to the task on hand, relying on conventional strokes and hard running between the wickets for long before unfurling the innovative side to his batting.
In a line-up where the top three batsmen — Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli — have delivered more often than not, Jadhav didn't have too many opportunities to build the innings. And when he finally had the chance, the 33-year-old showcased that aspect of his batsmanship, drawing from years spent in the first-class circuit.
He survived a hostile spell by Pat Cummins and would have breathed a bit easier after Aaron Finch took the fast bowler off the firing line and brought in leg-spinner Adam Zampa. It was not as if Jadhav uncoiled strokes straight away. Between Dhoni and himself, they had sensibly decided not to present the wrist spinner their wickets in the middle overs.
There was a spell of nearly five overs in which neither batsman got a boundary hit but they remained unruffled as they knew they were pushing back the Australian challenge gradually. It was attritional cricket alright, but the Indian pair was winning it with a focused approach that was rooted in sensibilities and awareness.
Having embraced percentage cricket for nearly 50 deliveries, Jadhav's range of strokeplay came to the forefront as the Indian innings closed in on the 40-over mark. He upped the pace of scoring once the target was within sight, guiding a short-pitched delivery from Cummins over first slip to the third man fence and pulling him to mid-wicket in successive overs to exercise command.
Jadhav readily acknowledged after the match that he enhanced his comprehension of game situation in Dhoni's company. In showing evidence that he is not the usual finisher who believes in putting an attack to sword from the moment he walks in to bat and puts a price on his wicket, he would have delighted the Kohli-Shastri combine no end.