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IPL 2020: Kedar Jadhav and his unreal struggles for CSK

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Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have botched up another run chase this season. It’s the fourth time it’s happened and it may well be termed as the easiest of them all. At 90/1 at the 10-over mark, they were cruising. Yet, they found a way to bottle this up. These are games they used to win in their sleep. There is no doubt that the three-time champions will have serious questions for their middle-order. And one big question will be on the place of Kedar Jadhav.

22 (16), 26 (21), 3 (10) and 7 (12) not out.

These are Jadhav’s scores this season. 58 runs in four innings and a strike-rate of 98.30. In fact, every time Jadhav has batted this season, CSK have lost. Well, this is not to put all the blame on Jadhav and to say he is the sole reason for CSK’s loss would be unfair. The middle-order barring Sam Curran has collectively failed to deliver this season. But Jadhav’s decline and struggle has been alarming.

And it’s not like he has come out swinging and tried to hit himself out of jail. His intent has been the one to question. He has a dot ball percentage of 40.7% this season.

Look at the times when he has come out to bat and look what he’s done.

 

There is absolutely no doubt that Jadhav came in to bat with CSK in trouble and in pretty tough situations. In three out of the four times he’s batted, the required run rate was in excess of 11 when he walked out. However, it is the intent that has been frustrating.

Jadhav has just not taken off. A year or a year and a half back, he prided himself on walking in and playing shots from the word-go and for that very reason, he was India’s No. 6 in ODI cricket. He could play those significant cameos and turn the momentum.

And here, he is walking in with the required rate soaring to new levels every ball and he defends and nudges around trying to tick over the strike. That may be fine for a delivery or two, but he does that for a prolonged period of time. In these four innings, all Jadhav has scored is seven boundaries.

In fact, in the last CSK game against KKR, Kedar Jadhav came in with 39 required off 15 balls and literally defended a couple of balls, before trying a cute dab to third ball off Varun Chakravarthy. There was absolutely no sign of intent. And when he tried going big, he failed to connect. And this has been the case throughout this season. The big shots just haven’t come from Kedar Jadhav and whenever he’s tried, he has failed more often than not.

Also, his batting at the death this season has been very poor. He has faced 14 balls in overs 16-20 this season and has scored a mere 8 runs (strike-rate of 57.1) and has scored just one boundary. He has a dot-ball percentage of 64.3% in the 2020 season of the IPL at the death. Yes, the sample size may seem small but it doesn’t cover for Jadhav’s poor returns. In fact, for any player with more than 50 runs this season, Jadhav’s overall strike-rate of 98.30 is the worst by some distance.

And it’s not been a problem of this season alone. The Pune-born Kedar Jadhav has been with CSK for three years now. But his struggles have been unreal.

The shift to CSK and the downward spiral of Kedar Jadhav

The returning franchise bought him for a whopping sum of INR 7.8 crore in 2018 and in the very first game of the 2018 season, a limping Kedar Jadhav somehow won CSK the game. Even in that game, he had struggled before he limped off with an injury. He returned on the field to win them the game.

Since then, the struggle has just amplified. Jadhav was ruled out of the entire tournament in 2018 post that opening game due to a hamstring injury. In 2019, Jadhav scored a mere 162 runs at an average of 18 and a strike-rate of 95.86. He batted at 4 and 5 the entire season and nearly 50% of the balls he faced were dots. At the death, his numbers are even worse. He scored just 34 runs off 37 balls he faced in the last five overs in 2019 and scored a mere three boundaries (two fours and a six).

Hence, Jadhav has just not clicked ever since he moved to CSK. It was expected that he would form the big Indian batting core in the middle-order alongside MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja. But he has come nowhere close.

 

So, it’s definitely time for CSK to look beyond Kedar  Jadhav. He is not their best bet anywhere in the batting line-up. Be it upfront, in the middle or at the death. All Jadhav is doing is using up deliveries and it just adds more pressure on the other batters batting or coming in to bat. In the field, he’s wandering around and isn’t the best either. Jadhav has stopped bowling as well. Thus, all his effectiveness seems to have vanished. It’s just adding to CSK’s miseries.

CSK have a couple of batting options in Ruturaj Gaikwad whom they tried earlier in the season in the middle but it didn’t work. They also have N Jagadeesan who has been warming the benches for a few seasons now. They don’t have a lot of batting options. Remember, CSK didn’t opt to get in a replacement for either of Suresh Raina or Harbhajan Singh, both of whom pulled out well before the tournament started.

Another way of thinking maybe, CSK have enough batting depth in their playing XI. Dwayne Bravo is slotted in to bat at No. 8 and the likes of Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur can swing their bats around effectively as well. CSK could well look at an additional wicket-taking bowling option and rejig their side a bit.

Irrespective of what happens, it’s high-time that CSK do away with Jadhav. Yes, it is not the way MS Dhoni or Stephen Fleming operate and they like backing players and give them ample chances.

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But Jadhav has just not been able to deliver for two seasons now. In 21 games for CSK, he has scored just one half-century and even that came in a losing cause (58 off 54 against Mumbai in 2019). His strike-rate is well below 100 as well – 97.60 to be precise!

There is no way Kedar Jadhav warrants a place in this side, especially with these numbers and the intent he has shown, not only this season but even in 2019. CSK desperately need to find a replacement.