Cricketers, unlike their cousins in the other bat and ball game across the Atlantic, baseball, don’t wear belts around their waists. But that didn’t stop Kedar Jadhav on Tuesday from imagining he was wearing one, just like, believe it or not, Salman Khan in Dabangg.
When he got to his maiden three-figure mark, in the final over of the innings, Jadhav roared at the dressing room in the usual way. A bat punch in the air and a fist punch towards the dressing room. But what occurred next was anything but usual, at least on a Zimbabwean cricket field.
Jadhav dropped his bat and held his fists by his waist, like clutching an imaginary belt, and pulled off a little jig. And his mind, he later admitted, was belting (don’t miss the pun) out the song’s chorus. ‘Hudd Hudd Dabangg Dabangg Dabangg Dabangg’.
Excerpts from the interview.
What was the celebration about?
(Laughs) Obviously, from Dabangg. I’m a big Salman Khan fan so I always dreamed of doing such things. This was the best occasion to let him know that I’m his fan. The move was from the movie’s title track.
Did you look at this series as a reboot, a second debut? Considering you hadn’t played after your only game against Sri Lanka last year.
It was a great opportunity and that’s what I took it as. I knew it would be challenging here in Zimbabwe, so I was prepared for that and I always knew it wouldn’t be easy to score in every game.
How did you turn it around after your set of failures in the first two games?
I told myself that whenever I get going, I will stay till the last and make sure that my team wins. I’m happy that today I’ve got in, settled and then carried through to the end.
Did you think this young side was capable of a whitewash in Zimbabwe?
We never felt that it will be a 3-0 scoreline — we always knew that they would be tough to beat on their home soil. It was challenging, especially batting first in all three games. But the difference was in the batting. Our batters did an excellent job to put up a 250-plus score in every game. That’s where I feel we won all the games.
How thankful are you for the drop catch by Elton Chigumbura? You were only on 41 then.
It’s the luck you need, and obviously I feel thankful to God for it. A real lucky chance.
Where do you think the Zimbabwean bowlers need to improve?
I feel on these pitches they are pretty effective but they still have to work on some areas. Especially the death bowling, that’s where they need to improve.
Why did India’s top order collapse in each of the three games? Was it the pace on the pitch?
Yes, exactly. Even when I came out to bat (at number five in the 22nd over) the ball was doing a bit so that is why we couldn’t play our shots early in the innings. But it was good that Manish (Pandey) was going nicely so it gave me some time to adjust to the Harare wicket. Later on, when I got set, I managed to play some shots.
Happy with the way this young team led by Ajinkya Rahane performed? And do you think a few more fringe players might get into the full strength side in the upcoming tours?
See, I am not sure about selection, that is up to the selectors. Whoever is playing well our selection committee will pick. As far as this young team and the opportunity is concerned, guys like Manish, me, Manoj and Robin are thankful for our opportunity in Zimbabwe. I am lucky that I could convert that opportunity into a hundred right at the end.