World Cup 2015: Ravindra Jadeja or Axar Patel?

    In the second ODI between India and Sri Lanka at Ahmedabad, Axar Patel displayed much sharper lines as compared to Ravindra Jadeja and caught a lot of eye-balls, which further led to “Jadeja or Axar” debates. So far in his career, Ravindra Jadeja hasn’t faced any competition in the team. In fact, he was the one who replaced Pragyan Ojha in the Test team. But, with Axar Patel’s consistent performances, Ravindra Jadeja is in for a tough competition.

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    Both, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel are very similar kind of bowlers. They both are left-arm orthodox spinners and they both bowl at similar speeds. But, in the last couple of outings, we have seen that Axar Patel is more consistent with his line and length. Talking about their actions, Axar has a high-arm action which helps him get some bounce off the pitch whereas Jadeja bowls more side-arm. But, all in all, they are very similar to each other, as far as their bowling is concerned. 

    Now, the question that arises is– “Who should be in India’s playing eleven if they have to make a choice between Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel?”

    Although it is true that Axar Patel has bowled well as compared to Ravindra Jadea in the last couple of matches, it is too early to discard Jadeja, who has been India’s first-choice spinner in all forms of cricket. Jadeja is a street-smart cricketer, who believes in keeping things simple and sticking to the basics. If you talk about the last two years, Jadeja is one of the most improved cricketers in the world. He is a clever bowler and a very handy lower-order batsman.

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    If we talk about the last 10 One Day International (ODI) matches that India have played, Jadeja’s bowling figures aren’t that bad.

    In his last 10 ODIs (excluding the ongoing series between India and Sri Lanka), Jadeja has taken 20 wickets and his economy hasn’t been that bad either.

    – ASIA CUP 2013/14: 7 wickets in 4 matches at an economy of 3.95
    – INDIA IN ENGLAND ODI SERIES, 2014: 7 wickets in 4 matches at an economy of 4.77
    – WEST INDIES IN INDIA ODI SERIES, 2014: 6 wickets on 3 matches at an economy of 6.50

    These clearly numbers clearly suggest that apart from the series against West Indies, which also wasn’t that bad, Jadeja has been picking wickets consistently. It would be very unfair to replace Jadeja just on the basis of one bad series. Ravindra Jadeja has worked very hard on his game, and he has improved a lot as a lower-order batsman. He made some valuable contribution for India down the order, and he is the best all-rounder in India at the moment.

    Although it’s true that Axar has also impressed one and all with his sharp bowling, he still has a lot to prove, as far as his role as an all-rounder is concerned.

    While Axar Patel’s consistent performance will encourage healthy competition between the two, Ravindra Jadeja should be the first choice spinner and all-rounder for Team India in the World Cup 2015.

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    By The Cricket Lounge

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