Kedar Jadhav said that it is time he repaid the faith that captain Virat Kohli showed in him whenever he had injury issues. Jadhav has had multiple breakdown due to a dodgy hamstring which also included a near six month lay-off due to a surgery.
“Obviously, the kind of confidence they have given has helped me deliver consistently. Credit goes to the captain and management for backing me in my difficult times and this is my time that I pay back to the confidence and faith they have shown in my difficult times,” Jadhav said after his unbeaten 81 powered India to a six-wicket victory against Australia in the first ODI.
Jadhav came in at a time when India were placed precariously on 99/4 chasing a target of 237. He went on to put up an unbeaten 141-run stand with MS Dhoni and India ended up getting to the total quite comfortably in the end.
“Everybody has been encouraging towards me irrespective of how many times I have got injured you know. Every time I have got fit, I have walked into the team. That is the kind of confidence that the team management has in me,” he said.
The Maharashtra all-rounder said that the team management has already specified him that he is their designated “finisher at No 6”. “It’s more than one and half or two years that I have been batting at this number (No 6). I still remember in January, 2017 against England in India, I batted at No 6 only and got Man of the Series,” he said.
“From thereon, the team management has been looking at me as a finisher. They have clearly told me that you will be batting at No 6 till the time you are there. So the management and team had been clear about everybody’s role and everybody is clear about what is expected of individual players.”
During the chase, Dhoni was seen suffering from cramps while Jadhav changed gears after reaching his half century. On being questioned about the strategy, the 33-year-old said: “Out of both of us, one had to take the risk. I have batted throughout my career at No 4, so I am more open to playing all the shots. Growing up, I’ve always built my batting on playing innovative shots. I feel I have a good chance of converting those innovative shots.”
The right-handed batsman added that Dhoni’s presence in the middle always builds the pressure on the opposition. “Mahi’s natural game is hitting down the ground. As long as he’s there, the other teams always feel the pressure. Whatever little bit of cramp he was having, I just told him “you stay at the wicket, gives me a lot of confidence”. I could play my natural game after 50 because he was at the other end,” he said.
“Every time I spend time with him, I learn a lot. I can’t put it in words but let’s say when I see Mahi bhai, I feel very confident. That’s the sort of aura where you feel that ‘I will deliver today’. He has that knack of getting best out of every player and that’s what everybody loves about him,” he added.
“Credit to MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli for what they have achieved in their career. If we can achieve 10 or 15 percent of what they achieved, it will be great.”
It is the second time Dhoni and Jadhav have combined together to take India to a win from a precarious position. On being questioned about the difference in difficulty levels of both the games, Jadhav said: “I guess both the games were difficult in their own terms. In Australia, that was my first game on Australian soil. It was difficult to adjust to bounce and get into the groove. If I have a MS or Virat at the other end, they will be telling you things like taking the game deep.”
“Now these things don’t always strike you and you need somebody to tell you that unless you have played enough international cricket to understand that. How much you practice at the nets, the best thing is learning in the middle.”
Jadhav also provided the crucial breakthrough in the match at the time when Marcus Stoinis and Usman Khawaja were settling down Australia. But the bowler said he is not ready to bowl his full quota of 10 overs yet. “I never thought of bowling 10 overs in a game as of now. If the situation demands and the team requires, I can definitely do. But doing consistently, it will take mental adjustment and physically also,” he said.
“Since I have not grown up bowling a lot of overs, my body also can’t adjust immediately. I need to have that mental adjustment and physically also I need to get more fitter to bowl 10 overs in every game,” he added.