Ravindra Jadeja would not have expected he will be playing in blue jersey a month back. But curse for others turned out to be boon for Jadeja during Asia Cup 2018.
His performance in the six-nation tournament ensured his place in the Indian team for limited-overs series against West Indies.
Apart from filling the place of an all-rounder, Jadeja's inclusion has also increased competition among spinners.
Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal had sealed their place in Indian team after a consistent performance post-Champions Trophy 2017. They made sure R Ashwin and Jadeja don't get a chance to turn back to the Indian white-ball side.
But Jadeja has somehow stepped into the side and now only a steady performance can ensure that he remains in contention to play limited-overs matches as well.
Chahal spoke about Jadeja's addition to the side. He feels the left-arm spinner provides balance to the team.
“He has played close to 150 ODIs and his experience can’t be doubted. The Asia Cup was the first time I played with him and I would often go to him to clarify any doubts. He always has a positive vibe and his comeback has given a balance to the team,” Chahal said in an interview ahead of the ODI series against West Indies.
The 28-year-old spinner knows the importance of experience in the team. He feels it was an experience which kept the side stable even during pressure situations in the Asia Cup. “Though we were without Virat bhai, our Asia Cup squad did not lack experience. Almost all the players had played at least 20-25 ODIs. It helped us in pressure situations especially during that tense chase against Bangladesh in the final. First, Ravindra Jadeja played well in the middle order, and then in the last over Kedar Jadhav kept his cool to take us through,” Chahal said.
“Everybody who got chance did well and that is a positive sign for the Indian team.”
India and West Indies will play five-match ODI series and three T20I after that. West Indies might not be competitive side India needs ahead of the Australia tour, but Chahal feels it's still good to boost confidence ahead of an important tour.
“I agree that some of West Indies’ top players are not in the team but that’s no reason for us to take them lightly. Most of them have over 25 ODIs. I don’t bowl keeping in mind that I have a lesser-known batsman in front of me, I bowl according to a plan. I see them as any other rival like England or Australia,” said Chahal, who was India’s top wicket-taker in the first ODI in Guwahati with three scalps.
“If we give a dominating performance against the West Indies, it will only add to our confidence in the Australia tour.”
Chahal thinks without Steve Smith and David Warner India may not find it tough. “If Steve Smith and David Warner were playing then it would have been different. They are legends. Australia has not won an ODI series in more than a year. In Tests also they lost to Pakistan and South Africa recently. India will be favorites against them,” he said.
The leggie has played under three different captains -- MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, and Rohit Sharma -- and he feels they all groom the youngsters. “While each one has their own style, the one common factor is that they don’t let the youngsters panic. They give us the freedom to set our field and are very approachable,” he said.