Ravindra Jadeja is turning out to be the utility man of Indian cricket.
A favourite of his skipper, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, he is fast making a pleasant habit of making important game changing interventions, be it in the test matches or in the shorter formats.
His contributions were most felt in the home test series against Australia in early 2013, when the Aussie skipper and their most accomplished of batsmen, Michael Clark lost his wicket to the left arm spinner in five of the six innings he batted in.
It was not a case of a bowler finding a weakness in a batsman and homing in on it, but Jadeja's accuracy and spin accounted for the Aussie skipper, time and again. The left armer had the best bowling average of all Indian bowlers who played in the series, a surprise to many who thought Pragyan Ojha would be the better left arm spinning option. But in true Dhoni fashion, the skipper went with his guts, and was rewarded with a starring role by Jadeja to whitewash the Aussies on home soil.
Fast forward to the ICC Champions Trophy currently ongoing in England and Wales, and the man called "The Rockstar" by none other than Shane Warne, played a crucial role with the bat, the ball & in the field, to win India the 1st match against a South African side, which although depleted by the loss of Smith, Kallis and Steyn, still is a good enough squad.
This ability to play multiple roles, as the situation demands, which was primarily in focus in this match, is what sets Jadeja apart from other such multi - utility players playing for other teams, or to have played for India in the past. His diving stop, pick up and throw to dismiss Robin Peterson when his partnership with AB de Villiers was assuming worrying proportions, was the game changing moment, but was not an isolated incident.
Earlier in the day, Jadeja had chipped in with valuable 47 runs of just 29 balls to successfully negotiate a tricky period of play toward the end of the Indian innings, and propel the score to a winning one.
He also chipped in with the ball, exercising great control on line and length to bring down the scoring rate during the free scoring Peterson - de Villers partnership.
It is this multi dimensionality and street smartness exhibited in the run out, will be what the Indian team will be hoping Jadeja continues, as India attempts to win the last edition of the Champions' trophy, to bring some cheer to its IPL spot fixing jolted fans.
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