Street-smart Jadhav turns it India’s way


Street-smart Jadhav turns it India’s way
Kedar Jadhav

A few years ago, captaining Maharashtra in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament, Kedar Jadhav did something that was unusual. The minute he realised the batsman was hitting the spinners straight down the ground, he positioned a fielder in front of the sightscreen.
Jadhav’s theory was simple — if he blocked his strength, then he might play a shot that is out of the ordinary.
A few balls later, the batsman tried a swipe across the line and was clean-bowled.
A couple of years later, that straight fielder had become customary in the IPL when Kieron Pollard was batting. 
Jadhav did it first — he was ahead of the time. All those early years of playing tennis ball cricket had turned him into what MS Dhoni calls a ‘street-smart cricketer’.
There are limitations in his game but he is intelligent enough to work out a solution. Jadhav’s off-spinners look innocuous but there is some strategy behind his side-arm release. The action is derived from playing eight-over a side tennis ball tournaments in which a bowler simply aims to slip the tennis ball under the batsmen’s bat and make him misjudge the length.  
For a spinner, it is difficult to generate pace on a tennis ball unless he bowls it with a round-arm action. And if you haven’t faced that style of bowling before, it can be a challenging task.
Against Bangladesh, Jadhav varied his arm angle and also his point of delivery. The under-cutting, skidding balls aimed at the stumps became a nuisance for even the well-set Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim. Many times they failed to read his length and instead of playing him on the front foot, made the error of trying to play him off the back foot. 
When Jadhav was introduced in the 26th over, Bangladesh were 142/2. In the next six overs, Jadhav picked up 2/22. Those harmless off-spinners from a ‘street-smart’ cricketer turned the game in India’s favour.

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