Jadeja (24) will in all probability make his Test debut today and bat at No 6, a position which Yuvraj Singh held in the last three Tests before he was dropped.
Contractor has followed Jadeja’s progress right from the time he came to the Cricket Club of India for under-14 camps several years ago. “He has definitely developed his powers of concentration and application. To score triple hundreds (Jadeja has plundered two for Saurashtra this season) without these attributes is impossible,” Contractor said of the player who has played 58 ODIs apart from a dozen T20 internationals. Jadeja recently said that he was told about Test cricket being the real cricket when he was younger and there’s a good chance that his batting sessions during those camps at the CCI provided him with that truth.
“Twice he was adjudged the best player of the academy. He had the talent, but I also remember getting the feeling that whatever we coaches used to tell him was taken in by one ear and let out by the other. The importance of being serious had to be stressed on some occasions. At the same time, he was a bloody hardworking. Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla too was in our camp. I think Chawla would have made a difference if he played in the Mumbai Test.
“Jadeja has proved that he can stay at the wicket. He also looks much stronger now — a far cry to the frail little fella I saw at the CCI,” said Contractor, who witnessed the last Test at Kolkata. Like the man he has replaced — Yuvraj — Jadeja can also bowl left-arm spin and has splendid fielding skills. “Jadeja has everything to gain. He can bat, bowl and field superbly. He will do something,” Contractor said confidently.
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