India selected a strong 15-member squad for the ICC T20 World Cup starting October 17 in Oman and the UAE. Semi-finalists in the last T20 WC in 2016, India have gone ahead with a heavy spin contingent in R Ashwin, Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy. A strong unit such as this promises to produce a problem of plenty for India as deciding the XI could become tricky for coach Ravi Shastri, captain Virat Kohli and mentor MS Dhoni.
However, if there is one name that former India fast bowler Ashish Nehra feels deserves to be in the XI is that of all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. He has been on a role with the bat, more so in the ongoing IPL 2021, where Jadeja has scored 179 runs in 10 matches. In the first leg, Jadeja scored an unbeaten 62 against Royal Challengers Bangalore where he smashed Harshal Patel for record-equalling 37 runs in an over. More recently, on Sunday, Jadeja played a vital knock of 22 and grabbed 1/22. Nehra lauded Jadeja for his effort and said his knock was reminiscent of the ones Dhoni, Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard have repeatedly played in their careers.
“With the ball too, he was effective. He picked up an important wicket and gave just 21 runs in four overs. He displayed the same type of bowling which he is known for. And as far as batting is concerned, he has done exceptionally well in the last 2 years. He hit Prasidh Krishna for big blows to finish the match. We talk of MS Dhoni, Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard, but even Ravindra Jadeja did the same thing today. He has performed well for CSK and in Tests with the bat. His batting is finally coming along nicely,” Nehra said on Cricbuzz.
The fact that India have five spinners in their ranks for the T20 World Cup, it is assumed that the selection committee is hoping the pitches in the UAE would be more suited for spin. Jadeja will face stiff competition from Varun Chakravarthy, Rahul Chahar and R Ashwin for a place in the line-up as far as spin is considered, but Nehra feels given his batting, Jadeja would be hard to ignore for the coaching staff.
“It will become interesting to see whether India include Ravindra Jadeja ahead of them or as a third spinner. I would say that the situations we have seen till now, he would be the first name on the minds of coach Shastri, captain Kohli and mentor Dhoni when it comes to deciding the XI.
“If you talk about the Indian team he has been used differently. For the T20 World Cup, India have picked five spinners so it remains to be seen. If there is assistance in the pitch then Jadeja is a no-brainer. But if you have a flat pitch, they might play Varun Chakravarthy and Rahul Chahar,” Nehra added.