By Mehul Gala:
There are cricket-crazy nations and there’s India. Crowned as the world champions, this country has seen the most ardent cricket followers in recent times. Wherever the team went to play the gentleman’s game, fans turned up in huge numbers bringing lots of cheer, excitement, roars, exuberance and hope.
Hope is a dangerous thing. To perform when everybody is hoping you to do well can sometimes lead to your downfall. It delayed a legend reach his 100th International century mark for a year. It delayed arguably the best player of tennis 6 times from winning a French open.
Indian team has always played under the burden of expectations of their passionate supporters. One such day was 14th June 2009. India was up against host nation England in ICC World T-20 2009 Super-8 clash. England batted first and set up total of 153 for the Indian team to chase. Tagged as defending champions, Indians were under huge pressure to win this game and stay alive in the tournament. India was 62-3 when Ravindra Jadeja walked in to bat ahead of Yuvraj Singh. He scored 25 runs in 35 balls which eventually proved costly. India lost that game and crashed out of the world cup.
Since his performance in that match, Jadeja has been a consistent target of sarcasm and mockery by numerous cricket portals and Indian cricket fans. On Twitter and Facebook, he is jokingly referred as ‘Sir’ Ravindra Jadeja since an online joke calling him the same went viral. Not a lot has been known about his past by the people who mock him.
Ravindra Jadeja came from a lower middle class family. His mother worked in a hospital and his dad worked as a watchman, who saved money from their little income to buy a cricket kit for Ravindra. He was devastated when he lost his mother at the age of 17. After the death of his mother, Jadeja became a completely different person to keep alive his mother’s dream of her son playing for India.
Since then he played quite brilliantly. Jadeja scored three triple centuries in domestic cricket. He also played a vital role in India U19 team’s victorious campaign in 2008 and rightfully earned his place in the Indian team. Agreed that he didn’t play well in the early part of his cricketing career but everybody deserves a second chance.
Jadeja is currently the backbone of Indian spin bowling in all forms of the game. He recently made his test debut and played a very handy role in India’s 4-0 whitewash victory against Australia. He has become a go-to man for India and captain Dhoni.
In the recently concluded Champion’s Trophy, Jadeja bagged 12 wickets including a 5-for, scored useful 47 from 29 balls against SA and a brilliant cameo in the finals to lift India to a respectable score and fielded stupendously. He was the man of the match in the finals. Well, Jadeja has come a long way and is making every moment count. Truly, he performed like a champion. He will earn a lot of name, fame and legend if he continues to play in this manner but as of now we can proudly say that he has certainly lived up to his ‘Sir’ tag.