Gujarat Lions' head coach Brad Hodge has described Ravindra Jadeja as a three-dimensional player stating that it would be very difficult for any team in the IPL to replace him. Gujarat will miss the services of the all-rounder after the BCCI advised him to rest for at least two weeks of the IPL.
Jadeja picked up the man of the series award in the recently concluded Test series against Australia where he scored at an average of 117 in the last two Test matches to swing the series in India's favor. Hodge was quick to acknowledge the brilliant display against the Aussies and when asked how he would replace Jadeja, Hodge told PTI, "No, he can't be replaced..he is a three-dimensional player...he bats, bowls and fields like a jet. So it’s very hard to replace him in any cricketing side."
"Ravindra was an unbelievable player in the recently concluded Test series (against Australia) and I understand that he needs some time to get cent per cent fit."
"Bravo, hopefully, he will be fit around 20th of April. He will be a key player for some games and when he comes he brings nice energy and when he is a good man around the group, he's always happy, dancing and having fun, so we are looking forward to him to join us," Hodge added.
However, the coach refused to admit that there was a problem stating that the absence of the big players would be an opportunity for the youngsters to showcase their talent on the biggest stage of them all.
"This is a good opportunity for young talented players to step in and perform well."
Gujarat Lions start their second IPL campaign against Kolkata Knight Riders on April 7. Last year, Gujarat did the double over the two-time winners, who would be hungry for some revenge of their own. Hodge said that he knew that KKR would be hungry for success after a mediocre season last time around.
"I am sure KKR is looking to bounce back. We played very well both the times last year but KKR is a very dangerous side having players like Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey.. all are very good players," Hodge remarked.
"They have got some skills in bowling too having players like Sunil Narayan and Umesh Yadav. Yadav is not going to be part of this game, but the match is going to be a good contest, as KKR is a skillful side and you have to play good cricket to beat them."
Talking about his own squad, Hodge said that he was happy with the balance of the team and the full roster of players at his disposal.
"The squad is a good combination of youth and experience. Experience is very important, I think more important in T20 and we have got some superb players but anything can happen on a day in T20," Hodge explained.
"In any team, you never have the perfect combination, you always have may be one or two holes. We have still a few days to work it out. We have some serious international players and to get the right combination is going to be difficult. Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch, Jason Roy and Dwayne Smith all are having good strike rate. So we have to wait and see to set the right combination.
"Of course batting is Lions' strength, but we have some superb bowlers. Praveen Kumar was excellent last year. Dhaval Kulkarni had 17 wickets last year. Having Bravo, Kaushik (
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