2016/2017 home season for India was truly a spectacular one. India dominated all the sides right from the start. Apart from Pune’s debacle against aussies, India played really well in different pitches which was spin friendly and even pace & bounce friendly at times. India have won at different venues like kanpur, Kolkata, Indore, Vizag, Mohali, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Dharamshala – This shows how India have really prepared to be the side to beat at home. India had won many matches where opponents have won the toss and posted a 400 plus runs on the board. India never fielded a same side for the consecutive matches. No.1 Test side for a reason.
In this season, Ravichandran Ashwin had been the spin spearhead for India by striking at a rate where no one would have imagined of. Going past Dale Steyn for most number of wickets in a season. Claiming fastest to 20 5fors and fastest to 25 5 fors. Virat Kohli showed his hunger in test arena by hitting four double centuries consecutively which made him to climb up to the 50 plus test batting average. These two were sharing the limelight for most of the matches. But, this series was an exception. India fought really hard without much Ashwin and Kohli contributions. India were in a position where Virat Kohli walking back to pavilion without scoring enough runs, Ravichandran Ashwin trying hard to strike regularly. But not able to pick as like he was in his prime in the series of England or New Zealand. But, there came someone from this side to make their strong statements. Cheteshwar Pujara came to limelight after long time, KL Rahul scoring runs at the top, Wriddhiman Saha showed his character and being the silent contributor when needed, Umesh Yadav bowling like perfect test bowler which he must have been proud of. But to pick someone who have changed this series in favour of India in many possible ways, it should be SIR Ravindra Jadeja.
2nd Test, India desperately wanted to win the second test to get back that winning momentum immediately after the Pune’s debacle. But, they had made only 189 runs on the board in their first innings. Though Ravichandran Ashwin bowled really well, he badly needed someone to pick wickets at the other end since aussies were tackling him extremely well. Ravindra Jadeja supported Ravichandran Ashwin outstandingly and even looked like India’s Spin spearhead at that point. 6/63 to restrict Aussies for 274 in the first innings which gave the momentum they need. Pujara’s and Ashwin’s brilliance in the 2nd innings won that match though.
3rd Test, Crucial 5 wickets when India badly needed wickets at different junctures in 1st innings. Though the resilient partnership from Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha was the game changer, the much needed quick runs and cleaning up David Warner and a night watchman Nathan Lyon immediately after aussies came to bat for few nervy overs, Jadeja made India to sit comfortably in the driver’s seat.
4th Test, Kuldeep Yadav’s four, Rahul’s fifty at the top, Saha and Rahane’s contributions and 3 beautiful wickets from Umesh Yadav & Ravichandran Ashwin were the other impressive performances. But, the way Ravindra Jadeja partnered with Wriddhiman Saha to make India go past 300 gave India a great position to win this series. It would have been great if he had scored a century and swings his bat to celebrate his unique style. He really had that chance though.
Claiming Most wickets in this series – 25 Wickets. Going past Kapil Dev’s all-round brilliance in an home season. Being the No.1 ranked Test Bowler and No.3 ranked Test All rounder. He was the Only bowler from this Indian side to give brain fade to Top Australian batsman in this series. Though Cheteshwar Pujara proved strongly with his bat, Ravindra Jadeja owned this series in every possible way. Of all the silent contributions with both bat and ball throughout the tournament and often being seconded with his performance, this time he came to the limelight to get Man of the ‘Border-Gavaskar trophy’ series deservingly.
Seeing all the players growing extremely well over these years and transforming into modern day CHAMPIONS, seeing Ravindra Jadeja’s contributions particularly in test cricket, someone in Ranchi will be happy than anyone else.