Ravindra Jadeja is glad that he could repay skipper Virat Kohli’s faith in him with a gritty half-century, ignoring the few eyebrows being raised over his inclusion for the first Test against the West Indies. Jadeja struck 58 off 112 deliveries and shared a crucial 60-run partnership with Ishant Sharma (19) for the eighth wicket, helping India reach 297 all out in the first innings. By the end of the second day’s play, India had taken control of the match as the West Indies trailed by 108 runs with just two wickets remaining in their first innings.
“I did not have any pressure to perform. Obviously you feel good when the skipper believes in you, considers you as main player. It boosts your confidence because your captain is showing confidence in you. Luckily, I have been able to repay the faith by performing well. I will keep doing the same in future also,” said Jadeja.
Senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav were left out while Jadeja got the nod in the playing XI. Former captains Sunil Gavaskar and Sourav Ganguly had questioned Ashwin’s exclusion.
“When I was batting, I was just looking to build a partnership. I was focussing to play with tail-enders like Ishant, Shami and Bumrah.
“I was focussing on my game, I was not thinking about what is going on outside, what others think. I was just trying to give my best on the field,” said Jadeja who also took one wicket for 58 runs from his 10 overs as the West Indies ended the second day’s play at 189 for eight in their first innings.
After the fall of Rishabh Pant with India on 207 for seven, Jadeja and Ishant frustrated the West Indies bowlers by negating the threat posed by pace duo of Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach.
Talking about the partnership with Ishant, Jadeja said, “I was constantly talking to Ishant that we should stay in the middle for as long as possible. That was the thought process. We knew if we kept believing in our defence and technique, then we can stay out in the middle. We were not thinking far ahead but taking one over at a time.
“I was positive in my mind, my shot selection was positive. When Rishabh got out, I was talking to Ishant about building a partnership and luckily we had a 50-plus partnership. In Test cricket, if the lower order like number 8, 9, 10 batsmen score runs, the opponent bowlers get irritated and not good for them (opponents). So, it was the game plan,” he added.