India captain wants to use Jadeja “a lot more with the bat”, citing example of his promotion in the T20I series
“To me, he is already an all-time great,” Rohit said of Ashwin. “He has been playing cricket for the country for so many years, his performances have been so good over the years. He has given many match-winning performances.”
Jadeja, meanwhile, was easily the most impressive cricketer in a one-sided match, hitting 175 not out in the first innings, before grabbing 5 for 41 and 4 for 46, as Sri Lanka batted twice in succession. It was Jadeja’s highest score in Test cricket by a distance. His batting average, which has been on a linear incline since 2017, has also never been higher than 36.46, where he currently sits after that knock.
“To me, he is one of the top allrounders,” Rohit said while heaping praise on Jadeja. “Look at the performances: to score 175 not out and take nine wickets in the game, he’s just upping his game every time we see him. He’s very hungry, as you can see. That hunger is something that drives athletes to move forward. When I talk to him about certain things, he is very open-minded. He wants to take the responsibility, he wants to take the challenge.
“As a captain, I want to use Jadeja a lot more with the bat. We all know his bowling. Everyone knows about his fielding. He brings so much balance to the team as well.”
India’s lower order also scored heavily in the Mohali Test. At one stage, they were 228 for 5, in seeming danger of being dismissed for less than 300. However, for the loss of only three further wickets, the hosts added a whopping 346, thanks largely to Jadeja. Ashwin also scored 61, and Mohammed Shami contributed an unbeaten 20.
“It’s very, very crucial in Test matches – the lower order coming to the party,” Rohit said. “I clearly remember back in 2015 when Virat [Kohli] took over as captain, we wanted to create a strong lower-order contribution and a strong foundation for that.
“This is why we kept emphasising how important it is for all the bowlers to go out and bat in the nets; try and improve one or the other skill. If possible, go put that contribution out.”
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf