Ashish Nehra believes that all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja would be the first player to be included in the playing 11 of the Indian team during the T20 World Cup 2021 in the UAE and Oman. India have a spin contingent of R Ashwin, Rahul Chahar, Axar Patel and Varun Chakravarthy for the T20 World Cup.
A strong unit such as this promises to produce a problem of plenty for India as deciding the XI could become tricky for coach Ravi Shastri, captain Virat Kohli and mentor MS Dhoni. However, Nehra believes Jadeja deserves to be in the playing 11 as he has a role with the bat. In the ongoing IPL 2021, where Jadeja has scored 179 runs in 10 matches. In the first leg, Jadeja scored an unbeaten 62 against Royal Challengers Bangalore where he smashed Harshal Patel for record-equalling 37 runs in an over. Recently, Jadeja played a vital knock of 22 and grabbed 1/22 against Kolkata Knight Riders. The former India pacer lauded Jadeja for his efforts and said his knock was reminiscent of the ones Dhoni, Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard have repeatedly played in their careers.
"With the ball too, he was effective. He picked up an important wicket and gave just 21 runs in four overs. He displayed the same type of bowling which he is known for. And as far as batting is concerned, he has done exceptionally well in the last 2 years. He hit Prasidh Krishna for big blows to finish the match. We talk of MS Dhoni, Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard, but even Ravindra Jadeja did the same thing today. He has performed well for CSK and in Tests with the bat. His batting is finally coming along nicely," Nehra said on Cricbuzz.
The BCCI selection committee is hoping the pitches in the Middle East would be more suited for spin bowling. Jadeja will face stiff competition from Varun Chakravarthy, Rahul Chahar, Axar Patel, and R Ashwin for a place in the line-up as far as spin is considered, but Nehra feels Jadeja would be hard to ignore for the coaching staff.
"It will become interesting to see whether India include Ravindra Jadeja ahead of them or as a third spinner. I would say that the situations we have seen till now, he would be the first name on the minds of coach Shastri, captain Kohli and mentor Dhoni when it comes to deciding the XI.
"If you talk about the Indian team he has been used differently. For the T20 World Cup, India have picked five spinners so it remains to be seen. If there is assistance in the pitch then Jadeja is a no-brainer. But if you have a flat pitch, they might play Varun Chakravarthy and Rahul Chahar," Nehra added.
India will start their T20 World Cup campaign against Pakistan on October 24 in Dubai.