Cricket Column: Why Jadhav failed to do a Brathwaite

Sports Tuesday 24/January/2017 17:00 PM
By: Times News Service
Cricket Column: Why Jadhav failed to do a Brathwaite

The rowdy message we got from Eden Gardens on Sunday was simple: size does matter. Nine months ago, Carlos Brathwaite hit four sixes in a row, pumped up his 46-inch chest and let out a primeval roar as the West Indies snatched an incredible title win in the T20 Championship against England at the same venue. On Sunday, Kedar Jadhav walked back to the dressing room in disgust after his desperate attempt at reaching out to a wide outside off stump delivery and somehow sending it over the ropes ended up in the hands of a fielder.

Brathwaite weighed 120kg, is 6 feet, 4 inches tall, with 18-inch bicepses. The 5 feet, 4 inches tall, 65kg Jadhav, with 12-inch bicepses, is a Lilliput in front of the West Indian giant.

Size doesn’t matter when it comes to putting together a partnership and getting close to the target, but when it’s 16 runs away, and just six balls to get there, it does. Determination could get you a six and a four, but when the guy pitches the ball wider on both sides of the wicket, size matters in getting to the ball and brute power helps in sending even the edge over the rope. Brathwaite’s mishit off the third ball had sailed over the long-off boundary and landed several metres into the stands.

Jadhav’s 90 came just a game after his 120 in the first ODI at Pune and there’s no doubt he is one of the “brilliant finds”, as Virat Kohli would say, but India will have to look further, wait longer to discover guys who could finish the innings. Dhoni failed a few games in the recent months to get the team over the line, but imagine the situation at Eden Gardens on Sunday if it was Dhoni, not Jadhav, against Chris Woakes for the final four balls. You would bet on the former skipper to produce six runs off four balls, and such awesome presence could put further pressure on the bowler and muddle up his plans. Brathwaite’s two sixes off the first two balls may have thrown Ben Stokes out of mind, and the sight of the giant growing into the entire width of the crease might have brought on brain freeze.

Dhoni has lost much of his ability to deliver the killer punches, and that’s understandable as he’s in the twilight of his career, but why is he getting the simple things wrong? He was going good with Jadhav and at the end of the 31st over India needed 151 runs from 19 overs, with six wickets in hand. No need to press the panic button. Jadhav was striking the ball well and Dhoni looked set. The required run rate was under 8 an over. There were plenty of overs to catch up with in case the asking rate went up a bit. Dhoni’s new policy is that he will hit the ball hard if it’s in his area, but it’s never too late to revise a plan that’s not helping the team.

Eoin Morgan described the Eden Gardens pitch as English-like, and Kohli said the experience of batting and bowling on such a wicket would help the team in the Champions Trophy being hosted by England and Wales in June. Neither the Indian bowlers nor the batsmen seemed to have taken advantage of the pre-championship help that came their way right here in India. Bhuwaneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya troubled Jason Roy and Sam Billings and the ball beat the bat plenty of times. Unfortunately, the bowlers were not holding their line consistently. A couple of wickets inside the first 10 overs were on offer for the persistent one, which might have helped India get England out for less than 300 runs.

Kohli was in a hurry. He poked at balls outside off stump and survived at the start of his innings and had a life on 35. The edge off the next two deliveries missed the stumps. Eventually, it happened as it did often during the 2014 England tour: an edge outside off stump being happily snapped up by the wicketkeeper. That was a wasted opportunity for him to deal with baits in English-like conditions and get James Anderson and Co. to sit up and take notice.

The win at Kolkatta has put a smile back on England. If Morgan and the awesome power hitters under his command needed something to lift them up in the T20 series, this was it. Or was it?


The writer is a freelance contributor based in India. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman