Ravindra Jadeja - Lefty, a natural right-hand man
That Ravindra Jadeja is spoken of as a match-winner in the shorter formats shouldn't surprise anyone anymore. Twelve months ago, it might have sounded ambitious. But such has been the Saurashtra all-rounder's impact on the Indian team's success over the last six to seven months—with the ball in particular—that his new-found reputation is justified. If anything, it is warranted. Also read: Highway stars
The 24-year-old left-arm spinner has in many ways been the silent hero for India during their dominant run in ODI cricket, chipping away at batting line-ups, picking up crucial wickets, and rarely allowing the opposition to add impetus in the middle overs. And it's safe to say that Jadeja has been the go-to man for the Indian captain, regardless of whether it is Mahendra Singh Dhoni or Virat Kohli at the helm. Also read: Serial winners
In 20 matches since his return to the team in January this year, Jadeja has accounted for 35 victims at an average of 18.48 while the most startling aspect of his bowling statistics is an economy rate of just 3.79. His thriftiness is even more staggering considering the new ODI rules, which allow only four fielders to be positioned outside the 30-yard circle. You just have to look at his figures from some 18 months back, when he was dropped from the Indian team, to get a grip on how far his bowling has come since. Back then, Jadeja was left out after a disappointing Asia Cup campaign, after managing just four wickets at 97 apiece in 10 games that year with an economy of 5.44. Also read: A case for rotation
So what makes Jadeja such a challenging prospect these days, considering that he doesn't really come across as a left-arm spinner in the classical mould? Why is it that batsmen the world over have struggled against his seemingly innocuous left-arm spin, which on the face of it looks bereft of traditional loop and revolutions?