Ravindra Jadeja: From no one to No.1

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Somehow "Straight out of a fairy tale" doesn't quite capture the rather extraordinary voyage of a young, ebullient, street smart cricketer from Saurashtra called Ravindra Jadeja. That may well be because of the fact that his rise within the Indian cricket team has hardly been a stroll in the park. Despite his having been an integral part of the Indian U-19 team that went on to win the World Cup in 2008, Jadeja failed to garner the fame and adulation that his skipper, Virat Kohli did, without any effort on his part. It wasn't until his rather remarkable performances in IPL that Jadeja manage to make headlines.
Jadeja is not an incredibly gifted cricketer and he, more than anyone else around him, seems to be acutely aware of that reality. But, almost throughout his career, both domestic and international, Jadeja has managed to take it in his stride and has never let this shortcoming hamper his ability to win matches for his side. Playing for Rajasthan Royals in the first two editions of the IPL, Jadeja impressed the team's coach and Captain, Shane Warne, with his all-round display.
Following a dream season with Saurashtra, Jadeja was inducted into the Indian team in 2009, but failed to make capital of these limited opportunities. But, a window opened for Jadeja when the selectors, disappointed with Yusuf Pathan's prolonged run of poor form, decided to replace the latter with the former.
Jadeja has played 75 ODIs and has scored over a thousand runs at an average hovering close to 32 and has snared 90 wickets. What's more, his incredible feats in recent months have seen him ascend to the apex of the ICC rankings for ODI bowlers. He is only the second Indian bowler after Anil Kumble to achieve the milestone and it certainly looks like he is earmarked for many more. Even with the willow, Jadeja has gone about setting the record straight by coming up with some fiery knocks that have helped India consolidate its position in many a match.
His incredible achievements, apart from vindicating him have also justified his skipper's and the selectors' faith in him. Credit for Jadeja's meteoric rise as an all-rounder, in no small part, ought to go to Dhoni, who persisted with the Saurashtra lad even when he was going through a lean patch.
His being a product of the IPL generation gave critics enough reason to raise a hue and cry over his inclusion in the Test squad. But, in the home series against Australia, Jadeja snaffled 26 wickets, second only to Ravichandran Ashwin (29) and proved every one of his detractors wrong. With Jadeja scaling new heights every day, it would only be fair to assume that he will eventually become the all-rounder, in not just ODIs and T20s but also in Tests, India has been looking for for a long, long time.

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