Former India cricketer Saba Karim has said that Ravindra Jadeja, by playing a crucial innings against Pakistan coming up the order in the Asia Cup Group A match, has given the Men in Blue another superb option as they prepare for the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia in October-November.
After skipper Rohit Sharma fell at the end of the eighth over of the match against Pakistan on August 28, Jadeja was surprisingly promoted to No. 4 and batted till the final over, making 35 runs in 29 balls.
He shared stands of 36 with Suryakumar Yadav and 52 with Hardik Pandya for fourth and fifth wickets respectively. And when he was dismissed on the first ball of the final over, Jadeja had made the task of defeating the arch-rivals much easier for Pandya.
Pandya hit the winning six with two balls to spare, as Dinesh Karthik gave the all-rounder company.
“I think at least for the Asia Cup, the Indian team management seems to have decided to have Dinesh Karthik and that is why they want to utilise Ravindra Jadeja as a floater. So, we saw him going up the order at No. 4 in the last outing and we may see that happen more often as the game progresses because Jadeja brings a different kind of dimension,” said Karim on Sports18’s show ‘Sports Over The Top’.
Karim lavished praise on Jadeja, saying he had emerged as a fine left-hand batter, and added that in such a scenario, Rishabh Pant might not be able to find a place in the Playing XI.
“Also, he’s (Jadeja) become such a mature left-hand bat who can bat up the order at No. 4 or No. 5 and if there’s an opportunity, he can also come down the order and score quick runs. Which means that as of now there’s no place for Rishabh Pant in the 11. Having said that, I do believe that Pant is such an X-factor. He can win you games from situations where the team has got no chance whatsoever. So why would you want to keep someone like Pant out of the 11,” said Karim.
Karim also gave his views on Pant’s not-so-impressive T20 record.
“That is the conundrum which Pant needs to come out of. But lately one has seen those glimpses of the kind of form he’s exhibited in Test matches. We saw him play a blinder of an innings in one-day against England. And similarly, there have been some great performances. Maybe not on a consistent basis, but I do believe that there’s still so much for Pant to learn in T20 cricket. He’s become a much better player now, but I think with more exposure, one can see Pant growing in confidence and adding far more value to this T20 side also.”
Karim further spoke about the preference Karthik got over Pant in the Asia Cup playing XI.
“I was surprised because I do stick to my earlier stand of having Pant in the side in place of Dinesh Karthik because I always felt that we need to look ahead, and even now I do believe that Pant can add far more value, with due respect to Dinesh Karthik, than Dinesh Karthik. But there can be possible explanations over there about which one can chat,” added Karim.