Ravindra Jadeja looking forward to success in West Indies

Jadeja prepared himself for the upcoming four-match Test series against West Indies with three wickets in the practice game. © Getty
Ravindra Jadeja is on his first Test tour of West Indies and the Indian all-rounder is keen on making a positive influence on the team. Having been rested for the first practice game, the left-arm orthodox spinner put in a typical accurate performance and finished with impressive figures of 3 for 16 from 13 overs in India’s second practice game against a strong West Indies Cricket Board President’s XI on Thursday (July 14).

On a pitch that had more bounce and carry when compared to India’s first outing at the same venue – Warner Park, St. Kitts – Jadeja enjoyed a fruitful spell, claiming the wickets of Vishaul Singh, Jermaine Blackwood and Montcin Hodge as the President’s XI were bundled out for 180.

Speaking at the end of the day’s play, Jadeja said he was settling into a nice rhythm and is preparing himself to bowl long spells on wickets that aren’t expected to be conducive to spinners during the upcoming four-match Test series. “We are playing the longer format after a long time and match fitness is important. I am working towards bowling 15-20 overs in a day. The way I bowled, I felt like I am building towards it and getting back to it. The wicket was turning and it had bounce too, so I was bowling as per my line and length,” Jadeja was quoted saying on the BCCI website.

The Indian all-rounder emphasized the need to be ‘mentally prepared’, which he said would pose the biggest challenge for the touring Indian team. “Mentally you have to be prepared for hot and humid conditions. Opposition batsmen building a long partnership is also a possibility. We bowled as a unit (and) didn’t give away too many runs, which has been our focus,” the star Indian all-rounder said.

India are on the up in Test cricket in recent times, having won a series in Sri Lanka last August and then beating South Africa at home in November-December, 2015. Jadeja played a major part in the latter conquest and is now looking forward to a third consecutive Test series win in the Caribbean Islands.

“Now both in Test and One-day cricket the performance is measured on the basis of your show overseas. Our focus will be to win the series. Whenever we do well, people say we always win in India. This is an away series and we want to change that thinking. This is an away series and we want to win. The fitness level of this team is high and everyone has prepared well. We had a camp in Bengaluru and are now getting used to the conditions here in the Caribbean,” he said.

Anil Kumble, India’s newly-appointed head coach, has backed his spinners to do a sterling job and Jadeja is ready to chip in with his bit. “He (Kumble) has told me to work on my strengths and has told me about these conditions. He told me to not lose focus during long partnerships and work harder and push harder. To look more energetic and be ready to bowl long spells of 12-15 overs. I am used to bowling long spells in the Ranji Trophy and I will look to do that,” Jadeja said, when asked about the advice he received from the legendary Indian spinner.

The left-arm orthodox spinner is a part of the three-pronged spin strategy which was successfully employed during the recent success against South Africa and is looking forward to another fruitful association with the offspinner, Ravichandran Ashwin, and legspinner, Amit Mishra. “All three of us have different styles and all three of us have different bowling speeds. So that is a very good thing. Our variations are very good and it is not easy for the batsmen to judge us as they have to play us in three different ways. In conditions where the balls spin, our variations will make it difficult for West Indies batsmen. I don’t know about the team combination but we are looking to work as a unit,” Jadeja concluded.

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