Ravindra Jadeja was sent to bat at number five during day one of The Oval Test between England and India. Everyone was left shocked when Ajinkya Rahane didn’t come out to bat when India’s third wicket fell.
India were batting first after losing the toss in the fourth Test against England. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul gave a solid start to India but fell in quick succession. Cheteshwar Pujara also got out in no time and the ghosts of the Headingley Test were rushing back for India.
At 39/3, after Pujara’s dismissal, Ravindra Jadeja came out to bat ahead of Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant. It was a sudden change in the batting order. Virat Kohli and Jadeja managed to see off the remaining time without further damage till the lunch break.
Cricketer-turned-commentator Nasser Hussain felt it was a tactical move keeping Jadeja’s batting ability in the mind.
“I don’t know the reason. I heard the debate over whether Ajinkya went to the loo. But Jadeja was ready, so he must have been told. So it was more a tactical move,” Hussain told Sony Sports during Lunch on Day 1.
“They must have wanted a left-hander in. He is a very fine player. He has got 3 triple hundreds in first-class cricket. The balance of the side still looks a little wonky in England.”
Gavaskar pointed out that India might have wanted to demote Rishabh Pant to No. 7 in the 4th Test after his twin failures in the 3rd Test at Headingley where India were handed an innings and 76-run defeat.
“Ajinkya Rahane came in and sat and put on his gloves. He may have been on a toilet break. Maybe they didn’t want to send Pant. Maybe he has been demoted down the order. Jadeja has batted longer in this series than Pant,” Gavaskar said.
“I don’t know the reason. I heard the debate over whether Ajikya went to the loo. But Jadeja was ready, so he must have been told. So it was more a tactical move. They must have wanted a left-hander in. He is a very fine player. He has got 3 triple hundreds in first-class cricket. Balance of the side still looks a little wonky in England,” he added.
This experiment by India didn’t last long as Jadeja got out after scoring 10 runs in 34 balls, where he hit two boundaries. Chris Woakes found Jadeja’s outside edge which Joe Root grabbed at the first slip.