Revdi hits the sweet spot

Only last week, Ravindra Jadeja became the first Indian to score three triple-centuries in first-class cricket. In a country forever blessed with prodigious batting talent, there are few, probably none, who would have picked the feisty Saurashtra all-rounder to achieve this unprecedented feat. But so far back in the pecking order was he in terms of selection for the Test middle-order that even this monumental achievement wouldn't have seemed to have enchanced his prospects.

Team India, meanwhile, had ended up losing the second and third Tests against England quite convincingly. These were desperate times for the national team. And the selectors decided to call for desperate measures, and what was thought of as an improbable outcome not long back suddenly turned into a pleasant surprise for Jadeja as he was picked in the squad for the fourth and final Test in Nagpur.

And not surprisingly, even the 24-year-old, who celebrated his birthday only four days ago, didn't quite expect the call-up.

"The feeling is totally different and it's still to sink in to be honest. There is no doubt I'm over the moon at the moment, I don't know how to express my joy. I never expected that I will get a Test call," Jadeja told The Indian Express.

Jadeja was busy helping Saurashtra towards their first outright win of the season against Bengal at Rajkot when he was informed about his selection for the Nagpur Test. And he celebrated his maiden Test call-up by smashing a 68, to follow up his 70 in the first innings, on Monday before getting rid of Wriddhiman Saha in Bengal's second innings as they look to chase down 431.

Jadeja so far has scored 794 runs this season—100 runs clear of Parthiv Patel—and sits on top of the run-scorers' tally for the Ranji Trophy. In addition, he's also been Saurashtra's leading wicket-taker with 21, with a realistic chance of crossing the 25 wicket-mark on Tuesday. The dream-run so far is no fluke though Jadeja is quick to note. And it's come around as a result of some arduous pre-season preparation.

"Lot of hard work has gone in during the pre-season camp and luckily everything has fallen in place for me. I wanted to make a comeback to the Indian team desperately but never expected that it will happen like this. Before the season my focus was on learning to control my strokes. Can't believe it's resulted in a Test call-up," he said.

"The one aspect of batting that I have learned this season, and which has really taken my cricket to a new level is the ability to score big runs. If you see my scores, I have regularly managed to score 60s and 70s but never could convert those into monumental knocks. That certainly has changed this season," he added.

Many have called on Jadeja being a like-for-like replacement for Yuvraj Singh, who was dropped after having averaged a mere 25 in the three Tests. While few will put the two in the same class in terms of their batting calibre, the Jamnagar-lad certainly has proven credentials with the ball. His style of bowling, which is based primarily on accuracy and not giving the ball much air, similar to England's Monty Panesar, could well be the X-factor that India have lacked in their bowling so far.

No. 6 for Nagpur Test?

But does that merit an immediate look-in at the No.6 spot at the expense of Mumbai batsman Ajinkya Rahane, who has been part of the Test squad for the past two series, will be the question on everyone's minds going into Nagpur. Jadeja is certain to give skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni a valuable fifth bowling option and his triple-century splurge is proof enough of his present batting form.

But the youngster is prepared to wait his turn and doesn't wish to speculate about a potential Test debut. And isn't thinking too far either.

"I'm not thinking too much at this stage, I don't want to complicate things by worrying about possibilities. Let's keep things simple. I can only try to carry forward my Ranji performances into the Test match if picked," he explained.

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