Dubai: Ravindra Jadeja, Indian cricket’s man for all seasons, often comes across as a bit of an unsung hero in an illustrious group - not always being an automatic pick for their Test team. However, a surprising recognition came his way on Tuesday when the Saurashtra allrounder was was named as the country’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the this century by Wisden.
CricViz, a detailed analysis tool in cricket, was used by Wisden to analyse each player’s contribution to his team with the ball, bat and fielding and the Saurashtra allrounder’s rating was an astounding 97.3, second only to Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan and thus making him the second most valuable Test player of the 21st century.
“It might come as a surprise to see Ravindra Jadeja, India’s spin-bowling all-rounder, feature as India’s number one. After all, he’s not even always an automatic pick in their Test team. However, when he does play he is picked as a frontline bowler and has batted as high as No.6 – contributing to a very high match involvement,” Cricviz’s Freddie Wilde told Wisden.
“The 31-year-old’s bowling average of 24.62 is better than Shane Warne’s and his batting average of 35.26 is better than Shane Watson’s. His batting and bowling average differential of 10.62 runs is the second-best of any player this century to have scored more than 1,000 runs and taken 150 wickets. He is an allrounder of the very highest quality,” he added. Having made his debut in 2009, Jadeja has represented India in 49 Tests, 165 ODIs, 49 T20Is so far.
Jadeja’s selection, much like Wisden’s study of nominating Rahul Dravid as India’s greatest Test batsman over Sachin Tendulkar about a week back, will open up another debate among India’s cricket fans. Given the premise that a MVP would be largely judged from the allrounders (unless one is an exceptional bowler like the off spin legend from Sri Lanka with 800 wickets), it betrays a lack of quality allrounders after the Kapil Dev era.
Irfan Pathan, who made a sensational Test debut against Pakistan in 2005, had the potential but had a surprisingly shortlived career while Yuvraj Singh - another cricketer with similar skillsets like Jadeja - was deprived of enough Test cricket due to a substantial part of his career overlapping with the ‘Fab Four.’
Earlier on Monday, Jadeja trended on Twitter with fans engaging an online debate over ‘who is better’, Ravindra Jadeja or Krunal Pandya. However, comparing the two seemed quite unfair considering that Jadeja had been a seasoned campaigner with more a decade in international cricket while the elder of the Pandya brothers made his India debut in 2018 and featured in only 18 T20Is thus far.