Currently Indian Cricket team is doing very well, especially in ODI cricket. The team is settled, so much so that they are playing couple of spin bowlers even in overseas matches.

The two spinners Indian team seems to have banked on for bringing them success are Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. Both are wrist spinners. Both are picking up plenty of wickets for India. Indian cricket team is winning matches. There seems to be no problem at all.

But there is another spinner in a squad selected to play ODI cricket. It is left arm spinner. And he is not Ravindra Jadeja but Axar Patel.

ravindra jadeja fb

Why this is so?

Why Axar patel is being selected ahead of a proven performer Ravindra Jadeja? Is Axar better than Jadeja or is it just one of those decisions that when you need to sack one player, you go ahead and sack his partner too. Because than sacking looks much more logical and also satisfies supporters of one of the players being sacked.

Both Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja had performances in ICC champions trophy tournament which didn't set anything to fire. Both struggled to pick up wickets in middle order. Jadeja took total of 4 wickets in the tournament, while his much celebrated partner Ashwin took just 1 wicket in tournament.

Now those look ordinary stats yet one needs to look into the overall context and conditions under which tournament was played. Despite being not at their best one can easily say these were two best spinners compare to other spinners in the tournament.

Every other spinner was going over economy rate of 7 an over, while these two spinner were comfortably under 6. This is also the reason why India made to the finals of the tournament so easily. These two spinner strangled and suffocated opposition batting to such an extent that they got desperate and threw their wickets away when Indian fast bowlers came to ball.

Jadeja was particularly excellent in this context. He bowled miserly and was as bright and brilliant in outfield as you would see anyone ever. His economy rate of 5.92 runs per over was best among all the bowlers who played 5 ODI matches in ICC champions trophy.

We are not against two wrist spinners in ODI team. Our only point is that - Among Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja:

  • Who is the better fielder - Jadeja or Axar?
  • Who is better batsmen - Jadeja or Axar? ( apart from triple tons, jadeja recently hit 6 sixes in 6 balls).
  • Who is more experienced - Jadeja or Axar?
  • Who runs better between the wickets - Jadeja or Axar?
  • Who is actually a better cricketer? (perhaps the most important question)

The answer for all the above questions is Ravindra Jadeja.

And their are many such questions which if you ask for the betterment of the team, the answer will be Ravindra Jadeja.

Jadeja has never been treated with respect, it seems. Often he is seen as someone who doesn't belong to top bracket cricketers in Indian cricket team. This is despite him being the best ranked bowler and all rounder from India in ICC rankings for players.

Often people label him as someone who played only because of MS Dhoni and not because of his skill. This is despite jadeja proving them wrong many times in his cricketing career. He completely overshadowed ravichandran ashwin in recently concluded home season of indian cricket team by taking more wickets than his much celebrated partner.

Jadeja took more wickets at times when conditions weren't helping spin bowling. For example, he took more than 50 wickets on 1st day of test cricket, while Ashwin took less than 20.

Jadeja has 3 triple centuries in first class cricket. This also is taken for granted by cricket analysts. They say it was scored in rajkot. But when they talk about Cheteshwar Pujara ( sorry, but pujara is not the wall of Indian cricket), they do value those triple tons.

Jadeja bats lower down the order. Indian pitches are in their worst conditions for lower order batsmen because by the time their turn comes to bat the pitch had become more dusty and uneven. Now if a lower order batsmen like Jadeja makes a triple ton, surely it should be valued more than when a number 3 batsmen scores it.

Jadeja has always been a team men. You will  never hear him being emotional when he is left out of team. Fact is no one seems to care to come to support him, like they do when someone else, likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, is left out of team. He understands team needs and always support his captain. Such attitude is admirable and Rahane and Bhuvi will do well to learn from him.

Another point in Jadeja's favor is that he plays the brand of  cricket like the current indian captain virat kohli likes to see players in his team play. Excitable, aggressive, and always looking for a win.

Axar patel hasn't really proved himself as batsmen of worth at any level of cricket. He is also seen struggling while running on outfield. When it comes to fielding he is good, but no way near as athletic as ravindra jadeja, nor he has as strong an arm as that of Jaddu (nickname of ravindra jadeja).

Indian cricket team will only benefit if they can replace Axar Patel with Ravindra Jadeja in squad. Even if he may be sitting out in dugout as wrist spinner continues to do well.

Indian cricket team management and selectors just has to ask one question to themselves:

 Who will they trust more if India is struggling in the middle of ODI world cup match - Ravindra Jadeja or Axar Patel? Ans would be: Ravindra Jadeja.

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