Best actor in a supporting role?
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For one British commentator, the most confounding moment of the Nagpur Test arrived minutes before even play had commenced on the first day. On one corner of the VCA, Sachin Tendulkar handed Ravindra Jadeja his Test cap. Perched directly above, the commentator in question asked on-air: "This Jadeja, is he picked as a batsman who can bowl a bit or as a bowler who isn't a mug with the bat?" His Indian counterparts, had few answers.
Batsman, suggested one, going by his recent triple hundred triumphs in the Ranji Trophy. Bowler, said another, assessing his skill-set in limited over internationals. No one uttered the allrounder word. Not in the longest of times — Vijay Bharadwaj perhaps being the last such — had India fielded a bits-and-pieces lad in their Test unit.
By the end of the Test, Jadeja had done little to stop the guess-work.
Make no mistake, the boy from Saurashtra did not have a poor Test debut. Far from one. His orthodox stuff was the most common sight in the first innings, with Jadeja bowling nearly as many as India's specialist off and leg spinners put together. Over all in the game, he bowled a cumulative total of 70 overs (just five less than Pragyan Ojha's effort of 75), dismissing Kevin Pietersen in both innings.
He found no turn, not even the slightest deviation off the inept Jamtha wicket. Yet, two of his three scalps came when batsmen playing for it, KP in the second and Jonathan Trott in the first — both losing their off-bail on shouldering arms to a straighter one.
Similarly, when it was his turn to bat, 66 per cent of Jadeja's runs were unintentional, two squirts through the cordon for boundaries.
Over the last few days, Jadeja may have come a long way from his tag as a T20 specialist to leap-frog several domestic giants to India's ever-vacant number six spot. But the big question is, although it's a bit harsh to judge a player after just one Test, had he shown enough promise to retain his place in the eleven for the Tests against Australia early next year?