Kolkata: The Indian Test team under Virat Kohli is on a roll barring the odd defeat against Australia in Pune. If Ravichandran Ashwin with the ball has played a pivotal role in shaping up India’s successful run, there is a silent performer in Sir Ravindra Jadeja, whose contributions cannot be ignored. Well, Jadeja is the unsung hero who quietly goes about his job letting Ashwin hog the limelight. His fifer in the ongoing Ranchi Test is yet another feather in his illustrious cap.
Jadeja has been pretty consistent with the cherry. He proved his mettle once again on the second day of the Ranchi Test. And yet, surprisingly there hasn’t been much talk about the left-arm off-spinner from Saurashtra. On turning tracks, he is a potential threat to any opposition on any given day and he has proved it time and again as he has quite consistently got wickets in the home series against the Kiwis, the English and now, against the Australians. He has undoubtedly been Ashwin’s best spin partner over the years, both in Test matches at home and overseas.
History, however stands testimony to the fact that this isn’t something new in the Indian team. The example of Dilip Vengsarkar fits in here. Vengsarkar has long been overshadowed by the towering presence of Sunil Gavaskar despite amassing runs at ease. With three hundreds at Lord’s, Vengsarkar was class apart, but unfortunately, he never got his due.
And the trend continued. The presence of Sachin Tendulkar meant the soft-spoken Wall of Indian cricket, Rahul Dravid was left out of the limelight. Solid as a rock, the Karnataka batsman was always the second best despite crafting many an Indian Test victory. As a matter of fact, former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra, in his book, Numbers Do Lie even stated that Dravid had made more of an impact in the game than the Master Blaster, Tendulkar.
Even in ODIs, it was Dravid who was a major force behind so many victories. But Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly stole the show. Dravid has played some memorable knocks for India in the fifty-over format but Ganguly and Tendulkar walked away with all the fame. Despite scoring over 10,000 runs in ODIs, he was always eclipsed by Ganguly and Tendulkar.
In Jadeja’s case, numbers prove that Ashwin has been one of India’s greatest tweakers. But, Jadeja, has stepped in when the chips have been down. Many a time when Ashwin has failed, Jadeja has taken charge and he hasn’t disappointed. And yet miraculously, he fails quite consistently to grab the limelight as he still remains India’s silent performer in Test cricket.
Let’s not forget India’s comeback in the Bengaluru Test against Australia. It was Jadeja’s six-wicket haul in the first innings that brought India back into the game. Although statistically Ashwin has an edge over his spin partner, one shouldn’t forget the fact that he shares the number one spot with Jadeja in the ICC Test bowlers rankings. And he’s right up there for a reason. He is someone who believes in the notion: Slow and steady wins the race. Yes, he remains the silent performer in the Indian Test team.