After becoming the first number nine Indian batsman to score a Test hundred, rookie Jayant Yadav said he always had been a handy batsman at the domestic level.
“I have always been a handy batsman, ever since started playing in junior cricket. But as I came up the ranks, I always wanted to build this side of my game and my Ranji Trophy team really helped me do it,” said Yadav after making a superb 104 and, more crucially, adding a record 241 runs for the eighth wicket with skipper Virat Kohli who made a magnificent 235, on day four of the fourth Test against England.
The duo’s heroics had virtually dashed the visitors’ hopes of fighting their way back into the game and the series before the bowlers pushed them to the edge by taking six wickets with only 182 on board in the second innings.
“Even though I was batting down, I had responsibility so taking that responsibility, you really grow as an all-rounder player, I would say a holistic development of a player,” said the 26-year-old Delhi-born player who plays for the neighbouring Haryana in the Ranji Trophy.
“I scored my double hundred at No. 9, I scored my first Test hundred at No. 9, I am happy at No. 9,” added the three-Test old player, referring to his double century against Karnataka at Hubballi three seasons ago.
Yadav said his first goal when he came on to bat morning with Kohli was to get to his second half century in Tests.
“To be very honest, when I came out to bat in the morning, I was just vying for the fifty because I was just 20 runs short. I just went with the flow and things just kept happening,” he said.
Yadav, who hit 15 fours in his 244-ball essay, was the more aggressive batsman in the first hour of play in which India rattled along at a furious pace by adding 78 runs in 16 overs.
However, he said it was possible as the Englishmen had kept a defensive field for his captain.
“I think we have to take into account the context of the game. They were attacking me more and they had very defensive fields against Virat, so that gave me an opportunity to put away the bad balls and that is what I did.
“Between overs, we just spoke about what was happening. ‘Is he trying to do something different or is he trying to do the same thing that he did in the last over?’ We had the odd laugh as well,” he explained when queried what were they talking about after every over during their brilliant stand, eclipsing the previous best for the eighth wicket for India courtesy Mohd Azharuddin and Anil Kumble, who had shared 161 run partnership.
“Virat just said ‘keep going, don’t focus on the runs, just keep playing ball to ball,” he added.
Unlike teammate Parthiv Patel, who said two days ago that the Indian spinners were far better than their English counterparts, Yadav played it safe when asked to compare.
“I think I am here to talk about our team and our Indian spinners, we bowled in good areas consistently and I am no one to judge how they bowled or they didn’t bowl,” said Yadav who is the third spinner in the Indian line-up.
The youngster said he wanted to constantly improve on all aspects of his game, and especially in off spin bowling which, currently, is his main job with the Test team.
“It is a journey, I just started the journey. There is always for improvement in all the three facets, whether it is batting, bowling or fielding. Obviously, I would like to improve in all three facets, but more so bowling.”
He also sympathised with the umpires who have made quite a few wrong decisions which have been overturned through DRS.
“Yes, most definitely the umpires’ job is difficult because of the crowd’s noise too. It is very difficult to hear the nicks and snicks which go behind the wicket and it is very difficult to see, if they are lunging out, if there is a bat-pad or not a bat-pad. I know it is a very hard job.”