Former Indian chief selector MSK Prasad believes that India made the right call by selecting Ravindra Jadeja, but feels continuous rains neutralized the left-armer’s impact with the ball, due to there being no patches. Prasad feels that, in the absence of Pandya, selecting Jadeja was a no-brainer.
When the first day of the World Test Championship final was washed out completely, many were curious to see if India would change the team composition and draft in a pacer in place of Ravindra Jadeja. That didn’t happen eventually, but the decision to select Jadeja came under fire after the left-arm spinner failed to create any impact with the ball, picking just one wicket across two innings. Jadeja got no turn or bite, and on an Ageas Bowl wicket which looked tailor-made for seam bowling, the left-arm spinner rendered completely ineffective.
But while many have termed Jadeja’s selection a blunder, it has been defended by former national chief selector MSK Prasad. Prasad opined that India selected Jadeja in the hope of exploiting patches, but were left red-faced due to rain neutralizing the impact of spinners. Prasad asserted Jadeja would have been a handful had the one-off final not been affected by rain.
"There was a reason why Jadeja was played. The reason was that, if in case it would have been a full game, there would have been a lot of footmarks, they [NZ] had many left-handers in their side, which he could have fancied his chances against. If you really look at it, there was some spin on offer which helped even Ashwin," Prasad told Sportskeeda.
"Also, considering the kind of form that Jadeja is in, that was the best possible XI we could have put up. The first day got washed but it still was a five-day game with the extension of one more day. So had it been a five-day game, Jadeja would definitely have come in handy."
Certain experts opined that India could have played an extra batsman in place of Jadeja, but Prasad pointed out how the southpaw is as good a batsman as anyone in the squad. Prasad felt that, in the absence of Hardik Pandya, India had no option but to trust Jadeja, who was the only all-rounder in the squad.
"Jadeja is no less than anyone with the bat. If you see his Test record of late, he has been very good with the bat. Plus, he would have been an added advantage with the ball and also on the field. Had Hardik Pandya been around, then there would not have been any second thoughts. But since he is not there, we wanted one more all-rounder and we only had a spinning all-rounder.”