Ravindra Jadeja might only be 24 years old, but the Indian all-rounder is already the richest man in world cricket. The Chennai Super Kings must have seen something in the then 23 year old, with the IPL franchise splashing (US) $2 million in the 2012 auction.
Despite starring in limited overs cricket, Jadeja initially made a name for himself in the red ball game with his first-grade side Saurashtra. The 2008/09 season, in which he scored 739 runs and took 42 wickets, catapulted him into the Indian squad for the ODI series against Sri Lanka. It was a disappointing start for the youngster, whose six overs returned figures of 0/40. He fared much better with the bat, finishing unbeaten on 60, but it wasn’t enough, as India fell well short of Sri Lanka’s 320.
The international honours continued with Jadeja slotting into the T20 side to take on Sri Lanka. Although the team enjoyed success, the all-rounder failed to fire, finishing wicketless with the ball, and managing just five with the bat.
After struggling in the T20 arena, Jadeja returned to first-class cricket to resurrect his love affair for the game. The move worked wonders, with Jadeja smashing three triple centuries in the space of twelve months. By doing so, he became the first Indian batsman to achieve the rare feat; an incredible stat given the wealth of batting talent in the sub-continent.
Although he has dominated the Indian first-class scene in recent years, Jadeja has found it hard to break into the prolific Indian Test side. A string of poor performances by more experienced players saw Jadeja earn his maiden cap against England in Nagpur last year. His spin proved too much for Kevin Pietersen in both innings, who once again struggled to play a left-hander.
Jadeja has gone on to play 65 ODI’s for India in what has been a more than solid career thus far. His six half-centuries have either saved India from precarious positions, or provided the powerful punch required late in the innings. His 61* off just 37 balls in the recent series against England helped guide his side to a defendable 285. The task was made much easier after he ground England’s chase to a halt with a choking seven over spell of 2/12. His bowling in the 50 over format has yielded 70 wickets, including a career best 4/32.
Just like most modern day players, Jadeja has shown a penchant for T20 cricket. Despite struggling early on the international stage, the talented Jadeja has flourished into the most valuable player on the planet (economically speaking). He excelled for the Rajasthan Royals in the first two years of the tournament; tasting victory in the 2008/09 final, and then topping the run-scoring charts the next season. His move to the Super Kings was greeted with astonishment by people who hadn’t seen him play. At the time, Jadeja was playing for India in Australia, and failed to impress in either T20 outings.
His surety with the bat, control with the ball, and athleticism in the field makes him the complete modern day player. He could prove dangerous in the upcoming series against Australia, especially when bowling out of the rough to Australia’s right handers.