Mohali: A few months ago, Ravindra Jadeja decided to give himself a break after being axed from the Indian team. "There was a break of two-three months, so I thought I'd enjoy my horse riding. It was a good time," he said.

Also read: India beat South Africa by 108 runs in 1st Test at Mohali

Ravindra Jadeja celebrates the fall of a SA wicket in Mohali on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Ravindra Jadeja celebrates the fall of a SA wicket in Mohali on Saturday. Pic/AFP

Once the domestic season approached, Jadeja put his shoulder to the wheel to chart a comeback to international cricket. And, he has done it in some style! With 38 wickets in four Ranji Trophy games, Jadeja shot back into the Indian team and marked the occasion with a match-winning spell in the first Test at Mohali.

Testing time
This comes after a testing time for Jadeja. The last time he played a Test was back in 2014, on the tour to England. An injury marred his progress Down Under and that resulted in a loss of form.

Also read: I never picked up a cricket bat after my last ODI, says Ravindra Jadeja

Jadeja returned with a point to prove, eager to avoid being labelled a 'domestic bully'. "Personally I was worried about that more than anything — that you don't want the label that you do well only in Ranji Trophy or domestic cricket. I wanted to do well in international cricket too," he said.

On Day Three, India were defending a target of only 218. Handed the ball in the second over, Jadeja picked a wicket off his first ball. His gameplan was to keep it simple. "Sometimes when the ball is turning, a bowler can try too many things. I just wanted to not give boundaries when the wickets weren't coming," he explained.

As India move to Bangalore for the second Test, Jadeja's confidence would be high. The spinners bowled in tandem to rock South Africa — taking 19 of the 20 wickets. "All spinners bowled well. It wasn't as if we just turned up and bowled and got wickets," Jadeja said, while lauding his teammates after the victory.