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The second coming


When he first came on the scene he was a young chap who was like anti-Bevan. He just couldn’t finish matches! His few failures to seal the match with the bat and unimaginative bowling made him a soft target for many including myself. Yet he continued in to be in the team much to our bafflement.
As a result, Jaddu became that annoying itch that we just couldn’t get rid of. It was painful to see him try and fail again and again. But soon the number 6 spot became a revolving door with innumerable players coming and trying their luck, some with moderate success and some with none. With Raina and Yusuf offering much more in the batting aspect while being equal to, if not better than, Jadeja it seemed he joined list of casualties in India’s perennial search for the elusive all-rounder.
When the World Cup squad was announced Jadeja wasn’t within miles of it. India went on to win the World Cup and we skeptics heaved a sigh of relief and thought we had seen the last of him. But had we?
The euphoria of the World Cup win as soon a distant memory as injuries and loss of form connived to hand India an embarrassing defeat in England in the Tests. Suddenly it was as if India was running out of players and Jadeja found himself in England. But how did that happen?
Well in the 9 months that he was out of the team, Jadeja could have taken the setback badly. He could have blamed everything else and cursed his luck. But he didn’t. There was only one way for him to prove himself and that was by playing cricket. He went back to the nets and worked hard on his weaknesses. And he didn’t stop just there. He put in performance after performance in the domestic circuit making the selectors sit up and notice. And he was, as it turns out, deservedly rewarded with an SOS call in the middle of the ODI series in England.
Jadeja didn’t exactly set the pitch on fire but amidst the ruins he was one of the positives for India. Expectedly he was called up for the ODI series against England at home. Jadeja played a pivotal role as India inflicted a whitewash on England this time. Though he didn’t get much opportunity to bat, he was surprisingly effective with the ball and ended the series with most wickets and a Man of the Match award to boot. 
When Jadeja didn’t make it to the Test squad for the first test against the Windies there were only a few murmurs of disapproval after all Jadeja had showed himself to be a useful ODI player and his batting, though better, still seemed to be his weaker point. Jadeja took up the challenge and in the very first Ranji Match of the season he scored a triple century. 
A triple century is a great achievement irrespective of conditions and opposition. It requires a great amount on concentration and determination to not give away your wicket. Some of the most illustrious and revered players don’t have a triple century against their name at international or domestic level. A triple century is special.
In 1966-67 a certain Ajit Wadekar scored a triple century to break in to the national team and he went on to captain the Indian Team. In 1998-99, so did Devang Gandhi and we all know how his story ended. Now it is up to Jadeja to decide which way will his story end.

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