Asia Cup 2022 – India vs Hong Kong

Ravindra Jadeja was jovial during Tuesday’s optional practice session ahead of India’s final group match against Hong Kong in Dubai. And when he showed up quite unexpectedly for the pre-match press conference, he was greeted with a huge cheer from the room.

Bakra mil gaya kya?(Have you found your sacrificial lamb) Jadeja laughed as he settled into his chair. And over the next 10 minutes, his answers alternated between dry humor and insight into India’s Asian Cup strategies.

Aapka sawaal mere book se baahar hai‘ (your question is from the syllabus) he joked when asked if Rishabh Pant would stay on the couch.

Monkey zyada sochte ho, main itna nahi sochta“(you seem to think a lot, I don’t think so much) he joked when asked about his role as a bowler in Test cricket versus his role on the whiteball teams.

Chuckles burst out laughing when Jadeja responded to a question about how he dealt with rumors of his sudden injury during the IPL and the possibility that he would not be selected for the Asian Cup and the T20 World Cup.

“Once I heard the news that I was dead, it couldn’t be any bigger than that,” he replied. “I don’t think too much about it. I just focus on my job, try to play well and perform.”

Jadeja’s answers were quick. He can get through half a dozen questions in the time it takes to throw a pass.

While Pakistan played a leg pinner in Shadab Khan and a left arm spinner in Mohammad Nawaz, Jadeja was ordered to counter the threat of a right-handed batter with a ball that turned away from him. Jadeja responded with a 29-ball 35 and his partnership with Hardik Pandya helped India win the game with three balls left. He revealed that he was preparing to bat anywhere in the order, and that the decision to move up was something he had expected.

“When you play for India there will always be pressure. You have to play with responsibility sometimes. If you get the chance to hit when the team is in trouble and then you have to win it from there, that’s a challenge. “

Ravindra Jadeja

“Sure, sometimes it happens that when a left arm spinner or leg pinner is bowling, it’s easier to have a left-hander,” Jadeja said. “In the top seven I was the only left-hander. I knew there would be situations like that where they have a left arm spinner and leg pinner, so I might have to hit each other.

“I was mentally preparing for it. Luckily I got the points, and whatever I did it was crucial. I can’t say [the same will happen against all teams]. Every opponent has different bowlers, we plan from that point of view.”

Jadeja regretted not finishing the match, but expressed satisfaction at having delivered an important performance in a difficult situation. “If you play for India, there will always be pressure,” he said. “You have to play with responsibility sometimes. If you get the chance to hit when the team is in trouble and then you have to win it from there, that’s a challenge.

“In similar situations you can sometimes come bowling. If you perform well in such situations, it gives you satisfaction and confidence as a player.”

And how would Jadeja bowl with a batter like Jadeja? “If there’s someone like that in T20s, I’ll look at the areas the batter plays in, what his strengths are, which side I’m bowling from, and what part of the outfield is bigger.”

In 2018, the Asian Cup was Jadeja’s launch pad for a comeback after falling out of favor for nearly a year. Four years later, Jadeja and Hardik Pandya are key pieces of India’s T20I puzzle as they aim to win a tournament – the T20 World Cup – that they haven’t won since 2007.

Jadeja is not focused on Australia yet. He wants to give his best against Hong Kong and then take the Super 4s as they come.

“One game at a time, one game at a time,” he laughed, before walking away coolly, sipping icy water.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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