The Indian cricket team has suffered a huge blow in terms of preparing themselves for the ICC T20 World Cup, starting next month. The three-dimensional all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja has suffered injury woes and undergone knee surgery. He will next start his rehab at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.
A report in PTI earlier stated that Jadeja is set to be ruled out of the World Cup, citing the recovery time needed. Jadeja, who Axar Patel replaced in the ongoing Asia Cup, will need to heal his knee before making a return.
India faced the music in the ongoing tourney in Jaddu’s absence. They lost both Super Four games against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, respectively. India is out of the final. They need both SL and Afghanistan to beat Pakistan, besides beating the Afghans themselves.
We decode why Jadeja’s absence could hurt India’s chances in the T20 World Cup.
A match-winning all-rounder
Jadeja is one of the best all-rounders in modern-day cricket, and his contributions across formats are telling. Besides being the second spinner, he adds a lot of depth to India’s batting down the order. His attributes are something India could have used well in Aussie conditions. Jadeja often comes in at crucial junctures and plays these match-winning knocks. This was most recently seen in the clash against Pakistan. He chipped in with a valiant 35 and shared a solid stand with Hardik Pandya in a close encounter.
Jadeja’s performance in T20Is in 2022
Jadeja has done a fine job for India in 2022. His knocks with the bat read as 3*, 45*, 22*, 46*, 7, 16, 27, and 35. These are solid numbers for someone at number six or seven. With the ball, the left-arm spinner has compiled 5 wickets.
India does not have a specialist to replace Jadeja
India lacks a specialist to replace Jadeja. They don’t have that character who can give them the confidence with the ball and sturdiness with the bat in those middle and death overs. India has a rookie in Deepak Hooda in the international scenario, but he hardly gets to bowl. Axar seems a decent option, but he doesn’t offer the pedigree in terms of batting in crunch matches. In 25 T20Is, he has 21 wickets and 147 runs with a best of 20*.
No Jadeja means India’s balance gets disturbed
Having a balanced side is a key factor in T20Is. With no Jadeja, India looks weaker. Jadeja is a strong finisher with big shots up his sleeves. Someone like Hooda and Axar can crack the shots but doesn’t have that experience. Both batting and bowling-wise, India is relevantly down in Jadeja’s absence. India could be forced to play four specialist bowlers and the fifth option in Hardik Pandya. If someone has a poor day, the rhythm can get unsettled.
Do the management trust Hooda and Axar?
Axar came in as Jadeja’s replacement but hasn’t yet got a game. The management preferred Hooda instead, and he hasn’t got a single over against both PAK and SL. So a lack of trust in the management can be evident here. These doubts aren’t viable when picking the World Cup squad as you need 15 players who can be equally crucial. So it remains to be seen who gets the nod for the global event between the two. Or there could be a chance where both players get the nod.
Predicting India’s T20 WC squad
KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma (c), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Deepak Chahar, R Ashwin, Ishan Kishan
Stand-by players: Shardul Thakur, Deepak Hooda, Axar Patel, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer.