India offie Kedar Jadhav bowls with a side-arm action against Bangladesh yesterday. Pic/AFP
A few years ago while captaining Maharashtra in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Kedar Jadav did something rather unusual. On seeing the batsman hitting the spinners straight down the ground, he positioned a fielder in front of the sightscreen.
Jadhav's theory was simple - if the batsman's strength is blocked, he may play a wrong shot. A few balls later, the batsman tried to play across the line and was clean bowled.
A couple of years later, that straight fielder became customary in the IPL.
All those early years playing tennis ball cricket have turned Jadhav into, what MS Dhoni calls, a street-smart cricketer.
Against Bangladesh yesterday, Jadhav varied his arm angle and also his point of release, and the under-cutting, skidding balls became a nuisance for even the well-set Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim. They struggled to read Jadhav's length and instead of playing him on the front foot, they made the error of trying to play him off the back-foot.
Jadhav derived the side arm release strategy from playing eight-overs-per-side tennis ball cricket, wherein a bowler aims to slip the ball under the batsman's bat so that he misjudges his length. For a spinner, it's difficult to generate pace off a tennis ball unless you bowl it with a round arm.
Yesterday, when Jadhav was introduced into the attack in the 26th over, Bangladesh were well placed at 142-2. In his six overs thereafter, he picked 2-22 at a miserly 3.66 per over, putting a stop to Bangladesh's run flow.
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