Kedar Jadhav, the India middle-order batsman, has credited the team management for his consistency, following his Player of the Match-winning performance in Hyderabad on Saturday, 2 March.
Jadhav’s 87-ball 81*, and his 141-run unbroken stand with MS Dhoni (59*), helped India to a six-wicket win in the first one-day international against Australia. Jadhav was also crucial with the ball, dismissing a well-set Marcus Stoinis to break a burgeoning partnership.
Jadhav has left behind a difficult 2018 – he suffered a hamstring injury during the IPL that year – to score two half-centuries and claim four important wickets in seven ODIs this year. In doing so, he has managed to become the front-runner for the No. 6 slot in India’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 squad.
“It’s good to be consistently playing for India and doing well,” Jadhav said. “Everybody is encouraging towards me, irrespective of how many times I have got injured. Every time I have got fit, I have walked into the team.
“Credit goes to the captain and management for backing me in my difficult times and this is my time [to] pay back the confidence and faith they have shown in my difficult times.”
There are doubts surrounding India’s middle order, but on Saturday, Dhoni and Jadhav did much to dispel those concerns. They came together after Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma fell in quick succession and rebuilt the innings, before Jadhav accelerated towards the end to wrap up the chase.
Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik and Vijay Shankar have all been tried out in the middle order, but Jadhav seems set to nail down a spot, especially given his knack of breaking partnerships with his low, round-arm off-spin.
“It’s more than one-and-a-half or two years [since I’ve been batting at No. 6]. Till 2017 January against England in India, I batted at No. 6,” he said. "From there, the management was 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’. The management has been clear about everybody’s role, and everybody is clear about what is expected of individual players.”
MS Dhoni finishes it off in style.— BCCI (@BCCI) March 2, 2019
Kedar Jadhav (81*) and MS Dhoni (59*) hit half-centuries as #TeamIndia win by 6 wickets and take a 1-0 lead in the 5 match ODI series #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/HHA7FfEDjZ
His stock as a bowler has been on the rise too, but Jadhav has always maintained he doesn’t work on that skill too much. That said, if needed, he is happy to bowl ten overs. “I never thought of bowling 10 overs in a game as of now. If the situation demands and the teams require, I can definitely do,” he said.
“But doing [it] consistently, it will take mental adjustment, and physically, I need to adjust. I’ve not grown up bowling a lot of overs. As of now, I’m not thinking of bowling 10 overs. I don’t think I’m a bowler.”
The second ODI will be played in Nagpur on 5 March.
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