Virat Kohli’s decision to include Ravindra Jadeja in India’s XI for the first Test against West Indies at Antigua instead of premiere off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin raised a lot of questions. Former cricketer Sunil Gavaskar went to the extent of terming the decision ‘astonishing’. But Jadeja repaid the captain and team management’s faith with his all-round performance on Day 2 of the first Test match against West Indies at Antigua. . After scoring an important half-century to push India’s first innings total to 297, Jadeja reacted on being preferred over Ashwin as the lone spinner.
Jadeja said he was happy to repay the captain by performing well. “Obviously you feel good when the skipper believes in you, thinks of you as the main player. Luckily, I have been able to repay the faith by performing well,” said Jadeja at the end of the second day’s play.
Senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav were left out while Jadeja got the nod in the playing XI. Former captains Sunil Gavaskar and Sourav Ganguly had questioned Ashwin’s exclusion. “I was focussing on my game, I was not thinking about what is going on outside, what others think,” Jadeja said.
After being sent in to bat, India was in a spot of bother at 189/6, but Jadeja stayed out there in the middle with the tailenders to propel India to 297 runs in the first innings. The left-hander went on to play a knock of 58 runs.
“When I was batting out there in the middle, I just looked to build a partnership. I was focussing to play with the tailenders. I was just worried about my game, I was trying to give my best out on the park,” Jadeja told reporters after the close of play on day 2 of the first Test match.
Wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant was not able to stay at the crease for a long time on day 2, and as a result, Ishant Sharma came into bat next. He along with Jadeja stitched together a 60-run stand, giving India much-needed relief.
Jadeja said that he was constantly talking to Ishant to put together a strong partnership.
“I just looked to build a partnership. I was constantly talking to Ishant, and we talked about staying out in the middle for as long as possible. We were thinking about one over at a time,” Jadeja said.
“I am just very positive in my mind, my shot selection is positive. When Rishabh got out, I was talking to Ishant about staying out in the middle and building a partnership. It is not good for opponents if the lower order is constantly scoring runs, so it was the gameplan from our side,” he added.
The all-rounder also picked up the important wicket of debutant Sharmah Brooks who was looking good till the time he was at the crease.
India gained a firm grip on the match after reducing West Indies to 189 for 8 thanks to a five-wicket haul from Ishant Sharma.
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