Kolkata, Nov 4 (PTI) Rahul Dravid has always been big on data but when it comes to judging Ravindra Jadeja's exceptional performance, the Indian coach looks more at situational impact rather than dry statistics that reveal less and conceal more.
Jadeja has scored 81 runs in three innings and taken nine wickets in 55.3 overs with an economy rate of 3.78. These are very solid figures without being exceptional like the 400-plus runs from Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli or the 29 wickets that Jasprit Bumrah (15 in seven games) and Mohammed Shami (14 in three games) have shared between them.
"It's been exceptional. I think, you know, Jadeja, someone, if you look at the numbers, we look at stats, we look at data, we look at it quite a lot. I mean, he has been exceptional in this tournament," Dravid said when asked about someone like Jadeja's contribution.
"Because of how good our seamers have been and how fantastic it has been to watch them upfront, the performances of people like Jaddu (Jadeja) and Kuldeep (Yadav) have probably gone slightly unnoticed," said Dravid as he tried to put things in context.
A timely 39 not out against New Zealand in a tricky chase, 35 that took India past the 350-run mark versus Sri Lanka and tying Australia in knots in the opening game, Jadeja has been the 'impact player' for India in this campaign.
Give him a situation and the Super King from Chennai is almost sure to come up trumps.
"Sometimes even having to bowl with a slightly wetter ball, because the ball has been slightly wet. Just the kind of control that he's given us through the middle, the way the control he's given Rohit has been sensational," said Dravid.
Jadeja has changed his bowling and is now landing the ball more on the seam to get purchase and also hitting one area consistently.
"And just the areas he's bowled as well, I think every metric point tells us that he's up there with anyone in this tournament in terms of just the areas he's been able to hit, the speeds he's been able to bowl at. And there's a lot of good conversations around the group in our bowlers' meetings with him," said the coach of his senior player.
Dravid feels that Jadeja is now in a phase where he knows exactly what he wants from himself.
"Just to see him in that kind of relaxed space and very clear about what he wants to do and what he wants to achieve. And just having that confidence to do that consistently over and over again has been fantastic." Dravid spoke about the two innings that he has played so far.
"When you're batting in the top three, you know that every single game you're going to get an opportunity to play. Sometimes at six and seven, you're not really sure when you're going to get a chance. Or even sometimes you won't even get a game. Or you won't even get a hit like they haven't for the first two or three games, the way we batted.
"He's (Jadeja) just come in and played critical knocks. Even the last one, he was able to really give us that little bit of a flip, a nice little 30 there. And so that's really good. And then his fielding is incredible, to have someone like him at point and taking some of the catches that he has. So really great all-around package for us, and someone who's really had a fantastic tournament. A little bit, maybe, gone under the radar a bit," the coach added.
Good to see Surya realising his potential ========================== The coach seemed happy that Suryakumar Yadav is showing a different side to his batting with a gritty 49 on a tough track against England.
"You've got to keep evolving. You've got to keep getting better. And the more kinds of situations he (Surya) finds himself in and he comes out of it, like he did really well against England, the better he's going to get at it," Dravid said about 'Mr 360'.
What has impressed Dravid the most is the areas of scoring which Surya has improved upon, and he is not just looking to play his T20 game.
"Yes, I mean, there are just in terms of just the areas in which he scores in T20 cricket and how quickly he has to go in T20 cricket. He's obviously been exceptional at that.
"And it's good to see that in one-day cricket, he's also realising that maybe at times you can give yourself a little bit more time to settle in. And then you know how dangerous he can be at the death." Nearly 10 years of quality domestic cricket and 82 first-class games have really helped Surya, feels Dravid.
"I think he has that experience because he's played so much of domestic cricket. He's been around for the last 10 years. So, I think, we're sort of relying a lot also on his experience to be able to read a situation really well.
"Like against England, when we have wickets down, then probably you need him to play a slightly different kind of role for a while and then look to go hard at the end." Surya and Jadeja are two players, who are expected to be the X-factors at the back-end in Hardik Pandya's absence.
"It's nice to have that experience of people like him and Jadeja at the back-end just to be able to read that situation and play according to the situation. And that's really important in one-day cricket.
"T20 cricket sometimes, you know, you just have to play in one way. One day, sometimes lower down the order you can actually, you need to be able to be smart enough to read a game and read a situation." PTI KHS AM KHS AM AM