The 34-year-old middle-order batsman, who also contributes with the ball, had set his sights high much earlier on, says former national selector Surendra Bhave, who coached Maharashtra in 2013-14 when Jadhav had a standout season and the team reached the Ranji Trophy final.
‘KD’s selection has come purely on merit’
“Jadhav’s ambition was not limited to playing 10 years of first-class cricket for Maharashtra. He always wanted to play at the higher grade. It appeared that he was wary about stagnation. And he had the confidence that he needed just one big season to impress the national selectors,” said Bhave.
That big season was in 2013-14 when Jadhav scored more than 1,000 runs including an away match-winning unbeaten 100 in the fourth innings that knocked Mumbai out in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals. One season earlier, he had hammered a triple hundred against Uttar Pradesh at Gahunje though Maharashtra failed to retain their elite division spot.
“His selection in the India team, coming purely on merit, is great news for the MCA, Pune, his family and well-wishers,” said Bhave.
Hrishikesh Kanitkar (34 matches from 1997 to 2000) and Abhijit Kale (one ODI, 2003) are the only other two from Pune to have played ODI cricket for India. Pune and MCA’s greatest cricketer Chandu Borde played before the ODI era.
Former chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar said, “I’m very happy for Jadhav. He is a hard-working cricketer with a good temperament. In a 50-over format, he will get enough number of overs to build an innings and score big runs. He bats during a crucial phase and is quite a capable player.”
Jadhav’s is a thoroughly deserved selection, said Bhave. “He has been impressive for the last five seasons or so. There were some fitness setbacks; his hamstring snapped. But he has worked hard to be back. I’m sure he will be concentrating on the World Cup than just his selection for it. He seems to be in exquisite touch in the IPL. The manner in which he batted against Malinga showed that he has the ability to come up tops against world-class attacks,” he said.
Bhave said Jadhav looking at the ODI bowling duties as a challenge despite limited domestic experience in that area talks a lot about his mental strength. Sunil Gavaskar, among the greatest Test openers, had dubbed Jadhav’s bowling trajectory and release as “below sea-level”.
Jadhav has played for Delhi Daredevils (2010, 2013 to 2015), Kerala Tuskers (2011), Royal Challengers Bangalore (2016 and 2017) and Chennai Super Kings (2018 and 2019) in the IPL in which he has kept wickets too.
He has played 59 ODIs and nine T20s for India since 2014.
He boasts of two hundreds besides two 80-plus knocks in 40 ODI innings.
He has sent down six or more overs in 15 matches and taking 27 wickets with an economy rate of 5.15 that include two three-wicket hauls.