When it comes to street smartness, there are few in the current Indian team’s limited overs set-up, who can match Kedar Jadhav’s on-your-feet thinking. But in recent times Jadhav has been the most under-utilised cricketer, which has led to varied opinions as to whether he is an ideal fit in India’s ODI team combination despite averaging 42 plus in 69 games.
A piece of statistic shows that Jadhav, who had sustained a hamstring injury in the past, bowled only 24 overs in his last 13 ODI games which is even less than two overs per game. Worse is that he hasn’t got a single wicket and in four of these games, he wasn’t even asked to bowl.
While batting great VVS Laxman feels that one needs to introspect whether soon-to-be 35 Jadhav is a contender for a place in the squad for the 2023 World Cup, when he will be 38, one of India’s finest spinner Harbhajan Singh wants him to bowl more or else there could be a few more viable options at no 6.
Irfan Pathan and Deep Dasgupta feel that Jadhav should be persisted with unless a better option comes in the middle-order, who could infuse a bit of calmness.
“It would be interesting to know whether Kedar Jadhav is being thought as an option for the 2023 World Cup. If not, then youngsters who are in contention for T20 World Cup berth could have been tried out in ODIs well,” Laxman said on air during his hindi commentary stint with official broadcaster, ‘Star Sports’.
In fact, Jadhav contributed 40 off 35 balls in Sunday’s first ODI against the West Indies but on a slowish Chennai track, he was replaced after bowling just one over during which he conceded 11 runs.
“Kedar is most effective when the wicket is low and slow. I believe that he could have been given a few more overs by the captain. I am not saying Kedar doesn’t fit into the team but he has to bowl more,” Harbhajan said.
“It is because purely as no 6 batsman, when I look around I see a few options like Manish Paney or Sanju Samson. Even Rishabh (Pant) at times won’t be a bad no 6 batsman.
“I feel rather than young Shivam Dube, Kedar could have been given a few more overs. Had your lead bowler given away 11 in his first over, you would have given him another over. Also I feel for Dube but if he gets as many chances as Hardik, he will also improve,” Harbhajan added.
Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan feels that the “utility cricketer” persona is creating a problem for the pint-sized Maharashtra all-rounder.
“I would take an average of 42 plus in ODI cricket any day. Even in Chennai he batted well for his 40 runs. I don’t see any reason why he needs to be replaced,” Pathan said.
For Deep Dasgupta, Manish Pandey is not a bad option at no 6 but the former India keeper feels that Jadhav brings in “much more calmness” in tense situations.
However he agreed that Jadhav needs to bowl more in order to stay in ODI scheme of things.
“For me, Kedar is the best no 6 in all the options that we have. But he needs to bowl more. If he is not going to be a sixth bowling option who gives at least five to six overs per game, then there is no point, The team management should rather groom a youngster keeping T20 World Cup in mind,” Dasgupta said.