Sydney: After a stellar show on the field with a four-wicket haul and a stunning run-out of Steve Smith on Friday, Ravindra Jadeja said he would like to bat up the order as it gives him time to settle down, bat responsibly and build an innings.
Jadeja is India's only fit all-round option at the moment. His contribution with the bat in the second Test at Melbourne was match-turning. He scored 57 at No. 7 while sharing a 121-run partnership with skipper Ajinkya Rahane for the sixth wicket and took India to a total from where they could dictate terms and eventually win the match.
Since the start of the fifth Test against England in September 2018 at the Oval, where he hit an unbeaten 86, Jadeja, 32, has hit seven half-centuries and also the only century of the career. He averages 56.15 in the 15 Tests he has played in the last 28 months. It is way higher than his career average of 35.66.
Importantly, he has shown a knack of scoring big in the period notching up a couple of 80s, 91 and 100 not out. Before September 2018, he had made a 90 and a 70 not out as the only innings of some size.
India will bank on his batting in the ongoing third Test at Sydney as well as the upcoming final Test at Brisbane.
"I feel if I play up the order, I bat with responsibility. You get time to settle down and play. Once I get a start, I bat with the flow," said Jadeja while speaking to the media after the end of Friday's play.
"When I bat with the batsmen (up the order instead of with the tail lower down), I get the confidence since I get to talk to batsmen about what to do and what not to do. So the higher I bat, it is good for me and helps me in playing my innings well," added Jadeja.
Jadeja says he considers himself as an all-rounder across all formats.
"My role is to perform in both batting and bowling across formats. That is what I have always thought. My role has always been like this ever since I started playing for India," Jadeja said.
The left-arm spinner says that he has begun performing well only after being given opportunity to perform with the bat.
"It is also about opportunities. Ever since I have been given the opportunity to score runs and take wickets, I have done it. Especially when I perform with the bat outside India, it is seen more clearly... having said that whatever opportunity I get in future I want to exploit that," added Jadeja.
India skipper Ajinkya Rahane admitted that improvement in Jadeja's batting has held India in good stead over the last couple of years and has given the team confidence.
"Jaddu has been really good especially with the bat. Last couple of years he has really been good for us, especially in Test cricket. We all know he can contribute well with the ball but as a batsman, Jadeja has improved a lot and that is a massive point from the team's perspective," said Rahane ahead of the third Test.
"When you know your No. 7 can contribute with the bat, it becomes really easy for you to actually to build a total. Obviously, you have seen him take some brilliant catches. His addition to the team has been great for us," Rahane said of Jadeja, who had to sit out the first Test at the Adelaide Oval due to injury.
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