Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ravindra Jadeja and the Number Seven Spot

While a lot of people are jumping off the Indian bandwagon after the tri-series in Dambulla, the team is more or less settled once some of the players come back from rest/injury. That is not to say I'm confident of India winning the World Cup, just that most of the spots in the XI are more or less taken. Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina and Mahendra Singh Dhoni are sure to be in the XI. Yuvraj Singh's spot should be under question but it's his to lose, I think the selectors will pick him in the XI over others. Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Praveen Kumar and Harbhajan Singh are also sure to make the XI, although I think India are better off playing Pragyan Ojha as the frontline spinner but that's not going to happen.

This leaves just one spot realistically up for grabs. Ravindra Jadeja is the frontrunner for it even though he hasn't exactly distinguished himself in the many chances he's got. Potential contenders for his spot are Yusuf and Irfan Pathan, Robin Uthappa and Ravichandran Ashwin. Ashwin is part of the squad and maybe he should have got a chance during this series. Uthappa is coming back from injury while Yusuf Pathan is currently out of favour. No one knows the status of Irfan Pathan.

All this means Ravindra Jadeja is in the side almost by default. A look at his numbers shows he scores less runs per dismissal (31.47) than he gives away per wicket (41.55). Also, he scores his runs slower than the rate at which he concedes when he's bowling (Strike Rate of 76.97 and Economy Rate of 4.84 i.e. 80.67 per 100 balls). Surely this is exactly the reverse of what you'd expect from someone playing as an allrounder.

So where does Jadeja rank in comparison to players who bat at number seven for their respective sides? In the last 24 months only 9 players have batted in that position 10 or more times. Here's a look at their batting record for that period.



If one were to rank the 9 in terms of their average and their strike rate, Jadeja would be ranked 7th and 9th in the list. Since we're looking at Jadeja as the fifth bowler, I thought it was only fair to include the bowling statistics for these 9 players when they didn't open the bowling (Not that they have opened to bowling too often).


Jadeja ranks 4th in terms of economy rate and 7th in terms of average. Ranking all 9 players on the four parameters, this is what it looked like.


Player
Batting
Bowling
Total
Average
Strike Rate
Average
Econ. Rate
Shahid Afridi
8
1
4
2
15
Elton Chigumbura
4
5
3
5
17
James Hopes
2
4
5
3
14
Ravindra Jadeja
7
9
7
4
27
Mohammad Mahmudullah
1
7
8
7
23
Angelo Mathews
5
8
1
1
15
Yusuf Pathan
3
2
6
9
20
Kieron Pollard
6
3
2
8
19
Luke Wright
9
6
9
6
30

Even though Afridi's two hundreds didn't come at number 7 it shouldn't be surprising to see his name at or around the top of the list. But not many would expect James Hopes to be among the top players. Angelo Mathews and Elton Chigumbura are also up there. Jadeja ranks second last in this list, even behind teammate Yusuf Pathan. This is not to say Pathan should take his place, but it does put Jadeja's performances into perspective.

Now this is only a very basic way of looking at the performances of the 9 players. Obviously ranking them doesn't account for how much better or worse they are. For example, there is very little difference between the economy rates of Mathews and Afridi who are ranked first and second on that parameter. However, the gap between the economy rates of Pollard and Pathan is much higher even though they're ranked eighth and ninth respectively.

I'm sure people can dig deeper and rate these players instead of ranking them. It would be a much more accurate way of comparing them. However, at first glance it does seem that Ravindra Jadeja ranks pretty low in comparison to his peers. It remains to be seen whether he gets more opportunities and if not, whether the replacement can do better. All I can say is India might pay the price of not having a good enough player at number 7, be it a batsman, bowler or allrounder.

5 comments:

  1. Indian team management would do well to forget about generating an all rounder. Likes of Uttappa, Kohli or even Pandey can be tried for #7 spot and hope that Sehwag, yuvraj and raina bowl those 10 overs

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  2. Why do you have to take pain to dig out the stats of 8 other players to prove Jadeja is useless.

    A look at his body language and his ineptness to clear midfield in final overs prove themselves that he is one loser in the team.

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  3. Maybe Dhoni is worried with the long tail which we have in the present series, he has already labelled Jadeja as a "specialist spinner", purely as a specialist spinner Ojha is miles ahead of Jadeja but his average batting comes to his rescue! With Ishant Nehra and Munaf in the team already its a long tail so they picked Jadeja. If Zaheer and Harbhajan were in the team, maybe they could have played 5 bowlers in Dambulla. Bhajji,Zaheer,Praveen,Nehra and Ojha.
    As with the case of part time bowlers in the present series Raina hasnt bowled a single over and neither has Kohli or Rohit Sharma. Yuvraj and Shhwag also have bowled rarely. Just shows teh attitude towards part time bowlers..till they change the attitude towards part timers, jadeja is here to stay and the batsman at No 7 and dream!

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  4. Pretty much all the runs Jadeja has scored so far have been useless.

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  5. The highest score by Jadeja for a winning cause is 30*. It was during the high scoring game against Lanka at Rajkot. That pitch was a road, and he had to score runs there. Out of 535 career runs, 435 runs came in games that India lost.

    But, his bowling average comes down to 27.30 when India won from his career average of 41.55.

    So the point is - he is barely performing his all-round duties for winning causes. And for the losing cause - his performances have been more or less ordinary. His batting needs a lot of work - and of course, he always seems running out of confidence.

    Replacing him is also a daunting task cos we're running out of impressive players. Robin Uthappa has just recovered and will now concentrate on being a WKB - so yes, he can be a good option but not always for the XI unless shows some batting brilliance.

    Irfan Pathan if can clinch a nice rhythm back in his bowling - then of course he should be the first choice replacement.

    His brother Yusuf should needs to work on making his batting consistent enough. He tries to hit each and every ball for a six which is never acceptable.

    And then, Ashwin though is a pretty good player - he won't get a game cos of his pinch hitting and playing two off spinners would something any team would avoid - so its perhaps very difficult to accommodate him.

    In short, that leaves us to decide between Irfan or Robin. If Jadeja can get his batting right, and if he becomes consistent enough with his bowling - he can always keep the place.

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