Ravindra Jadeja was out of the Indian limited-overs squad for more than a year between July 2017 and September next year, but underlined his importance to the squad as soon as he was recalled in the Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates. The 30-year-old’s all-round skills have their backers, even though he may not have realised his potential with the bat, and made the selectors include him as the only specialist finger-spinner in the World Cup squad.
Jadeja’s experience of the World Cup 2015 will be of utmost use as will that of playing 17 matches in England. It may be a long while back, but it cannot be forgotten that he was the lead bowler when India won the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013 when he was the highest wicket-taker of the tournament. It was after the same tournament in 2017 that Jadeja seemed to fall off the radar only to resurface in September 2018.
He is a clever left-arm spinner, relying on variations of flight and angles with phenomenal accuracy to tie the batsmen up. On more helpful tracks, he can run through a side, but he could be a reliable bowler even on a flatbed, given his ability to keep things quiet and complete his over pretty quickly. He has well and truly shrugged aside doubts about the relevance of finger-spinners to a squad that has relied heavily on two wrist-spinners, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.
It must be said, though, that the team would expect him to play a more responsible role with the bat as well. Of course, it has been nearly five years since he scored the last of his 10 one-day international half-centuries. He has had the potential and there could be no better time than the World Cup to show that he still has the qualities as a batsman who has three triple-centuries in first-class cricket.