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The Arrival of Jayant Yadav

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Jayant_Yadav_India_cricketJayant Yadav made his Test debut for India at Vizag at the expense of his experienced Haryana team-mate Amit Mishra. Many people, including legendary former Indian batsman and captain Sunil Gavaskar, criticized Mishra’s exclusion from the squad, stating that Mishra was unnecessarily made the scapegoat whenever the Indian bowlers failed to perform, for he had quite an inconsistent career as a spinner and was immediately axed from the team every time he had a bad match. In such circumstances, it was important for Jayant Yadav to justify his inclusion in the squad at his senior state-mate’s expense.

Neither the situation nor the conditions were conducive for the debutant when he walked out to bat at No. 9 in the first innings with Ashwin struggling to find an able partner at the other end. He looked a bit nervous and edgy when he started off his innings, but became better and better as the innings progressed.

Some of the shots that he played justified why he has two first-class centuries to his name, one of them a double ton. In his useful knock of 35 runs, as he lasted for more than 80 deliveries, he proved that he had the technique to put the fight to world-class seamers like Stuart Broad and James Anderson and also showed his tremendous mental strength.

He had already impressed everyone with the bat and it was now time for him to show his prowess with the ball. He began nervously with the ball, as was visible in a scrappy first over. However, he came on to bowl in the second and took his first Test scalp trapping Moeen Ali lbw.

Another aspect of his character that got highlighted with that scalp was his immense confidence. For a debutant to convince his captain to go for a LBW review when a batsman has been rapped on the pads coming down the track takes tremendous confidence. And the result going in his favor was just icing on the cake.

He again proved his mettle with the bat, scoring a useful 29 in the second innings, helping India to cross the 200 mark. He concluded his debut match on a memorable note, claiming the last two English wickets off consecutive deliveries to help India to a comprehensive victory. The wicket of Ben Stokes is one to remember, as he cleaned him up with a delivery bowled from round the stumps that spun just enough after pitching on middle and off to knock over his off-stump.

This impressive all-round performance in the match, with bowling figures of 4-68 and 64 runs with the bat, was enough to cement his name in the team sheet for the next Test.

 

The journey hadn’t been easy for Jayant Yadav at all. He had to prove himself again and again to get a chance in the Indian squad. Many players would have gotten frustrated not getting their long deserved dues, but champions don’t complain. They rise above every odd to achieve what they want and Jayant Yadav surely is one.

Although the grassy pitches of Haryana do not favor the growth of spinners in the state, he, like his senior state-mate Amit Mishra, went on to beat the odds and weaved magic with his off-spin on those grassy tracks. His breakthrough year came in the 2014-15 Ranji season when he claimed a 6-for in his first match and later went on to take 13-wickets against Saurashtra in Rajkot.

Excellent returns with the ball in that season opened the doors for him to play for India-A at home against the South-Africa A and Bangladesh A teams. His purple patch didn’t stop there as he went on to take eight wickets in the same season to help Rest of India beat Mumbai in the Irani Cup.

His exploits with the ball saw him being picked up by the Delhi Daredevils to play in the IPL 2016. He impressed one and all with good performances in the IPL and was immediately named in the squad for the tour of Zimbabwe. However, he didn’t get an opportunity to play in either the ODI or the T20I series as another Haryana player, Yuzvendra Chahal, was selected over him. Yadav didn’t lose heart, and once again made a statement by claiming seven wickets in two matches from India-A’s tour of Australia.

Finally, he received his debut cap in the final ODI against New Zealand, in which he claimed the wicket of Corey Anderson and gave away just eight runs in his four overs. And here he is now donning the whites for India, and making the world sit up and take note of his performances.

He has again proved his abilities with the bat notching up his maiden fifty only in his second Test and that too in a calm, composed and confident manner which was totally different to the way he started in his debut innings at Vizag. The future certainly looks bright for him as India will relish having another reliable player like Ashwin in their line-up. It is just the beginning of a long journey for the 26-year old; a journey that will go far and probably have a number of milestones to celebrate.

 

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Prasenjit, a techie by profession and Sports writer by passion, hails from the 'City of Joy'-Kolkat...

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