Asia Cup 2022: Sanjay Manjrekar feels Ravindra Jadeja will fit at top of batting line-up if he keeps delivering key contributions
Asia Cup 2022: Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar is all praise for star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, adding that if he keeps putting forth continuous efforts, he can slot nicely on more high positions in the batting order.
Jadeja contributed a crucial innings of 35 runs to India’s five-wicket victory over Pakistan.
“Yes. Very good move and I loved it. And I do not think it was a gamble. It was not a wild card because Pakistan were bowling two spinners, one leg spinner and a left-arm spinner, Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab. So, they were going to bowl for a while and that is what Babar did. It was like they bowled one over spell or two over spell,” he said on Sports 18 program ‘Sports Over The Top’.
“A left-hander coming in would just make things a little difficult. The ball also, the pitch looked green, but the ball was turning, so the spinners were going to make an impact. So that was pretty good. And also, there was another long-term clue or a thought that could come in, is that now slowly in white ball cricket, Jadeja could now be looked at as a batting all-rounder. He bowled 2 overs, but if he’s going to take important positions in the batting order and make the kind of contribution that he did against Pakistan then Wow! He fits in perfectly.”
“So, you have got Hardik Pandya as the extra bowler, then Jadeja can be your push-in if one of the seamers do not bowl well. So going up the order and him also delivering are great signs for India where there we are seeing slowly a transition of Jadeja becoming more of a batting all-rounder in white ball cricket.”
In addition, Manjrekar praised star all-rounder Hardik Pandya, claiming that everything about him right now is fantastic, including his performances with the bat and ball.
“Just his calmness. I mean everything about him is currently unreal. His bowling returns are unreal, which is fine, which is something that you get with others as well. But his ability to keep calm and get runs under pressure. That last over, you know last night was a tricky one because Hardik was in there and played the faster bowlers mostly and he was hitting the path. There was a rhythm of hitting against the quicker bowlers and suddenly the situation was such that Pakistan had to bring in the left-arm spinner in and Jadeja getting out to the first ball and then he had four balls to get those runs,” said Manjrekar.
“I mean, the pressure is immense but the kind of shots also that he plays to get those winning runs under pressure is just outstanding. I am sure from inside there is a bit of nerves, but he has this confidence currently which he said last night as well, is that he believes that the bowler would be under more pressure. So, he is just in a zone where you think everything that he is doing is just unreal. Absolutely brilliant,” he added.
This year, Hardik Pandya has received a lot of praise, whether it be for his outstanding all-around performance with bat and ball or his leadership in leading Gujarat Titans to their first Indian Premier League (IPL) championship in their first season.
After dealing with fitness difficulties throughout the years, Pandya returned to his fully fit avatar in 2022. And led Gujarat Titans to their first India Premier League (IPL) title in their first season. Pandya led his team from the front throughout the entire season, scoring 487 runs at an average of 44.27 in 15 games, while also hitting four fifty-plus runs. In addition, he claimed eight wickets for his team, including a game-winning 3/17 in the final.
Since then, he has played numerous vital runs for India in T20Is and displayed great form. Whether bowling as an anchor or an aggressor. Pandya has scored 314 runs in T20Is this season, averaging 34.88 runs over 13 innings in 14 games. He has made several significant runs, including one half-century. Additionally, he has 11 wickets for his team in 14 games and a top bowling average of 4/33.
He has also scored 100 runs in two innings over three matches in three ODIs. With an average of 50, one fifty, and the best score of 71. In these three games, he has also claimed six wickets, with a best total of 4/24.
Manjrekar also discussed the adjustments that top batsman Virat Kohli needs to make in order to reclaim his form.
“A couple of things that I saw which I liked. And something that I have not seen him do much before. If you remember he played three pulls in that innings. There was one hook that went for six, but there were a couple of pull shots that he played. And those are the things that I look for you know as an analyst. This is what excites me whether he is trying to do anything different. Just getting a little bit technical, before the ball was delivered,” he said.
“On two occasions, he actually had a trigger movement where he went back in the crease. It means that I think finally somebody’s got to him where he is now exploring the back foot play a little more. I saw that happen in England, but still mostly onto the front foot. There was a catch dropped again on the front foot reaching for the ball. So, if he starts mixing back foot aggression, I am not saying back foot defence. Back foot aggression along with front foot aggression, life might just get better. And those signs were seen in that innings against Pakistan.”
Virat has played for India in 69 matches. And scored 2,589 runs in 83 innings at an average of 34.06 since his last international century. Since his previous international century, he has scored 24 half-centuries in all formats.
2022 in particular has been very tough for Virat.
Virat has only participated in five T20I matches for his team this year. During which he has scored 116 runs at a below-average average of 23.20. His 52 score this year is his best in the format.
He has played for India in 17 matches across all formats this year. However in 20 innings, he has only managed to score 511 runs at a poor average of 25.55. Only four half-centuries, with a top score of 79, have come off his bat.
India will lock horns against Hong Kong in the ongoing Asia Cup 2022 on Wednesday.