After India lost three quick wickets, Ravindra Jadeja, on Day 1 of the 4th Test at The Oval on Thursday, walked ahead of Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant. Former India cricketers Sunil Gavaskar and Sanjay Manjrekar were left guessing following the arrival of the southpaw in the middle.
India lost three early wickets on Day 1 of the fourth Test against England and that marked the arrival of Ravindra Jadeja at No. 5. Yes, you read it just fine. Openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul departed early and so did Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored a gritty 91 in the second innings of the Leeds Test. In usual circumstances, Ajinkya Rahane would have walked in at five but that was not the case. Not even Rishabh Pant, the usual No. 6, was promoted to the position. It was Ravindra Jadeja who joined his captain Virat Kohli ahead of the duo.
Experts were left guessing watching the southpaw take his guard in the middle.
"India trying to get left hand-right hand? Can't be possible because they have Rishabh Pant. But why Jadeja? Rahane might not be ready and not even Pant too, Jadeja at 5 is an out of the box decision," Sanjay Manjrekar said while commentating for Sony.
"Well, it could be because Jadeja has shaped well. You're right about the left-hand-right-hand combination. Just trying to throw the bowler off their line and length," Sunil Gavaskar replied.
"Make no mistake. It makes a difference to the bowlers because what is a good line for a right-hander becomes a leg-stump line for the left-hander. Similarly the other way around.
"Jadeja has shaped well. He has batted for long hours, he has scored runs whereas Pant has been a little bit of a switch and hit kind of player in the series so far. But I am not too sure why Ajinkya Rahane was sent up," Gavaskar concluded.
During the lunch break, Sunil Gavaskar also added that Pant might just have been demoted to number seven considering his recent form and Rahane might have been in the loo when India lost Pujara. Former England captain, Nasser Hussain, on the other hand, believed that the move could be a tactical one.