The Indian team is banking on left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja’s performance on the final day to steer the team to victory in the ongoing fourth Test being played at The Oval.
Jadeja was picked ahead of R Ashwin as the lone spinner for the first four Tests, including the ongoing one. He was also promoted to bat at No. 5, a position in which he didn’t exactly click.
Team batting coach Vikram Rathour said that the spinner will play a crucial role on the final day on Monday.
“Jadeja will play a massive role [on Monday], I think. Because on the fifth day wicket, there is rough outside the left-hander’s off-stump. So, he will play a massive role. He bowled really well I thought. He bowled with lot of control, last 5-6 overs he bowled and did create lot of opportunities,” said Rathour to the media.
“Tomorrow, with a little bit of luck, those opportunities will turn into wickets. So yes, he is going to play a very, very important role. But to pick 10 wickets, everybody will have to chip in. He will play a major role but I think medium pacers will also need to chip in,” added the former India opener.
Rathour explained the reason behind the promotion of Jadeja in the batting order in both the innings of the fourth Test. He was sent in at No. 5, ahead of both Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant.
“The idea was to have left-right combination in. Both left-handers (Pant and Jadeja) were playing together at Nos. 6 & 7. So we wanted some gap there for the left-handers [and break it through Rahane]. Jadeja was batting with lot of control in the last match. So, as a team, we wanted to see how it affects our balance and momentum in the middle. In the both the innings, it worked to some extent. Jadeja shared a very good partnership with Virat — 59 runs [for the fourth wicket in second innings]. However, can’t say yet, if it is a long-term solution,” added Rathour.
Rathour wasn’t too concerned about Rahane’s failure to get runs. the right-hander demoted to No. 6 has got 14 and 0 in the two innings of this Test.
“Not at this point,” he said on being asked if it was a concern.
“As I said earlier when you play cricket for a long time, you will get phases when you don’t score runs. That is the time when you need to back them and support them as much as you can. We saw with Pujara also — him getting good opportunities and coming back and playing couple of important innings for us. So we are hoping that Ajinkya will get back into form and he will still play major role in Indian team’s batting. So I don’t think we have arrived at that point where it should become a concern,” added Rathour.
The former India opener lauded Pant’s innings. The wicketkeeper-batsman scored 50 off 106 deliveries and hit only four boundaries as he added 100 runs for the seventh wicket Shardul Thakur.
“Extremely important innings by Rishabh Pant. The situation he was batting in, we needed a partnership there. I think he needed to take responsibility. The knock he played was a little out of character. He approached the innings really, really well and played with lot of discipline. We all know that he has the ability. If he can bring in this ability of his into forefront and play well, he will do well for the Indian team. He understood the situation and played the innings which was a little out of character for him. But that will give lot of confidence going forward.”