There is no love lost between Team Indian all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar. With Jadeja failing to fire in the World Test Championship (WTC) Final against New Zealand, which India lost by eight wickets, Manjrekar once again trained his guns against the Chennai Super Kings all-rounder. Jadeja picked up one wicket in the match and scored 15 and 16 in the two innings as India failed to put up a decent score, and Manjrekar weighed in on the all-rounder’s selection saying that playing the 32-year-old for his batting was a gamble India took but it never paid off.
Jadeja’s batting form has been on an upswing in the last three years, as he averages over 50 with the bat while his bowling has shown steady improvement as well. But in conditions where there was plenty of assistance for the fast bowlers, Manjrekar felt Jadeja’s inclusion was surprising, especially since the heavens had opened up and India still stuck to the XI they had announced on the eve of the start of the WTC final.
“If you have to look at how India went about before the game started, picking two spinners was always a debatable selection especially when the conditions were overcast and the toss was delayed by a day. They picked one player for his batting, which was Jadeja, and his left-arm spin wasn’t the reason he was picked. He was picked for his batting and that is something that I am always against,” Manjrekar was quoted as saying by the ESPNCricinfo website.
“You have got to pick specialist players in the team and if they felt that the pitch was dry and turning, they would have picked Jadeja for his left-arm spin, along with Ashwin, that would have made sense. But they picked him for his batting and I think that backfired as mostly it does,” the former Mumbai and India batsman added.
In hindsight, Manjrekar felt that playing an additional batsman might have helped India since the runs did not come from the middle-lower order. “Had they had a specialist batsman in Hanuma Vihari, for example, who had a pretty good defence, that would have been handy. Maybe 170 could have been 220, 225 or 230, who knows?
“But I hope India don’t do what England have historically done, pick somebody because there is another strength that they have and that strength might just come to good use, but very rarely it does when it’s a pressure game,” Manjrekar concluded.