Newcomers Nepal made an instant impact in its memorable meeting against record-time winners India at the Asia Cup 2023 on Monday. Thanks to India’s sloppy fielding, the debutants in the continental tournament started to cruise against the overwhelming favourites in the first powerplay. After seamer Shardul Thakur managed to draw first blood by removing opener Kushal Bhurtel for 38, veteran all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja took over and weaved his magic with the ball at Pallekele.
Spin wizard Jadeja cleaned up Bhim Sharki (7) before dismissing Nepal captain Rohit Paudel in the 20th over. The senior spinner then got the better of Kushal Malla to break the back of the opposition. Taking four wickets and leaking just 40 runs in 10 overs, Indian spinner Jadeja emerged as the pick of the bowler in the rain-marred contest at the Pallekele International Stadium.
Impressed with Jadeja’s consistency in international cricket, former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar issued a noteworthy statement about the star all-rounder in the lead-up to the ICC World Cup. Manrjekar said that superstar Jadeja stands a strong chance to feature in every single ICC World Cup match. The ex-India cricketer acknowledged Jadeja as India’s first-choice spin-bowling all-rounder for the ICC event.
‘India can’t do without Jadeja’
“There is a very good chance, it’s almost a certainty that he will play all the World Cup matches. India can’t do without him. Axar Patel will be there in the reserves but Jadeja will be the first-choice spin-bowling all-rounder. If the pitch is rough, if you have got a quality opposition, he will finish in 10 overs,” Manjrekar told Star Sports.
‘Not fair to compare Jadeja with Yuvraj’
“But the batting all-rounder we had in 2011, Yuvraj Singh. It’s not fair to compare his batting with Jadeja. So I see him more as a bowling all-rounder with somebody who can be a threat at No. 7 or No.8. His white-ball career has changed completely in the last few years,” said Manjrekar, who once had an infamous spat with Jadeja during the World Cup season.
Jadeja is the joint-most successful bowler for India at Asia Cup
Manjrekar’s remarks have come after Jadeja became the joint-highest wicket-taker for India in the Asia Cup. Jadeja and Irfan Pathan picked up 22 wickets each in the One Day International (ODI) editions of the Asia Cup. The spinner will aim to eclipse Irfan in India’s upcoming match against Pakistan at the Asia Cup. Jadeja-starrer Team India has confirmed their rematch with Pakistan after thrashing Nepal by 10 wickets at Pallekele.
“Earlier, he was a formidable Test bowler. In the early part of his one-day career, he wasn’t even completing his 10 overs. But in the last few seasons, you see him bowling his 10 overs. That’s a best indicator of how good a bowler you are. All you have to do is see how many times you bowl your 10 overs. That’s something that you get with Jadeja now. He is a much-improved white-bal cricketer, which he was not 3- years before that,” Manjrekar added.