The personal stories of Team India members bound for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Jadhav, the tennis-ball maverick

In his own world: Despite Kedar Jadhav’s easy-going nature in the dressing room, his friends insist he has always been reserved.  

In the late-1990s, the jeep ground in Kothrud, a western suburb of Pune, was a hub for tennis-ball cricket. Kedar Jadhav, whose home was a short walk from the ground, had built a reputation not just in the suburb but across western Maharashtra. He had helped Rainbow CC win a plethora of tournaments — from two-to 25-overs-a-side games.

Jadhav was in danger of being lured into the vices surrounding tennis-ball cricket and had not made the transition to competitive cricket. Sensing it, his father Mahadev — a clerk in state electricity board whose three daughters had earned postgraduate degrees — let his youngest child pursue his passion.

And it was time to channel that passion.

The evolution

In less than three years after transitioning to serious cricket, Jadhav was picked for the Maharashtra under-19 team. On his first outing, in the quarterfinal against Kerala, he smashed 195 at the Nehru Stadium in Pune.

Click here to read the full story in The Sportstar

Dilip Vengsarkar, the former India captain who then headed the BCCI’s talent identification wing, and former Maharashtra captain Surendra Bhave were thrilled while watching the knock. Since then, Bhave has worked closely with Jadhav.

“Tennis-ball cricket exposes a batsman to different challenges. From scoring only on one side of the wicket due to the size of the ground to playing in different over formats, it throws up constant challenges. Most importantly, irrespective of the situation of the game, a batsman is never expected to drop his guard and press for victory all the time,” says Bhave.

“It’s phenomenal that Kedar has translated all these qualities on the cricket field, even at the highest level.”

Cut to January 2014 and after having fought his way through the Maharashtra batting order, Jadhav had the biggest moment of what he refers to as a “1223 season”.

Bhave, who was the Maharashtra coach then, was stunned with his confidence during the quarterfinal win over Mumbai.

“Kedar and Vijay Zol had survived the new ball till lunch on the fourth day. As he was getting ready to go in, I told him to be careful against Zaheer (Khan) and he responded with: ‘Let it be Zaheer or anyone, I’ll whack all of them and finish the game in this session,’” said Bhave.

The chase was over 11 minutes before tea. Jadhav’s unbeaten 120 — the best of his six hundreds that season — helped Maharashtra cruise to a victory target of 252 on a seamer-friendly Wankhede Stadium pitch.

The personality

Despite his easy-going nature in the dressing room his friends insist he has always been reserved, so much as that he is sometimes mistaken as being rude.

“He is not easily approachable, not because he is an India player, but he is not someone who gets along with everyone,” says Maharashtra opener Swapnil Gugale.

“But once he trusts you, he will do anything for you. Being a senior, he expects a lot and is a great motivator. There have been times when his speeches in the dressing room have spurred us on, like during the Ranji Trophy semifinal in 2014-15 when I scored a hundred. But at times, when someone doesn’t listen to his advice and makes blunders on the field, he stops talking to him for days.”

“I believe in signs.” That’s one of Jadhav’s favourite one-liners. He has cited it in the past to this writer. “Being the positive person I am, I am always in search of good vibes and sometimes these positive signals come from anywhere,” he says.

His IPL debut was on March 26, 2010 — his 25th birthday. He scored a match-winning 29-ball 50 for Delhi Daredevils against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

When he walked out at the Harare Sports Club in 2015 with the Indian team, he saw “March 1985” — “the month I was born in” inscribed on the club plaque. He scored his maiden ODI hundred in the series, bursting into a dance move by Salman Khan from Dabangg to celebrate the milestone.

Being the first Maharashtra cricketer to have made the cut for a World Cup, Jadhav will be hoping that the positive vibes continue for the next few weeks in England.

Click here to read the full story in The Sportstar


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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 10:51:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/jadhav-the-tennis-ball-maverick/article27265751.ece

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