He made his way into the Indian Test side as a third spinner, but ended up adding another vital dimension to the squad with his lower-order batting of substance. Yes, you guess it right and I am obviously talking about the cherry on the cake at the moment – Jayant Yadav.
The 26-year old made his first-class debut for Haryana in the Ranji Trophy in 2011-12 season and made a score of 26 in a total of 207 against Gujarat, besides picking up 6 wickets in the game which saved their relegation. Although, he got another couple of games in the rest of the tournament, the only worthwhile highlight among them was his gritty knock of 23 when his team was bundled out for a paltry 97 against Rajasthan.
The Delhi-born hero who received his Test cap from former Indian all-rounder Ravi Shastri had some decent competitive performances dated back to his under-17 and under-19 days. He is one of the few to have played for his state association in all age-categories. In the following season, in a warm-up match against the visiting England side, Yadav picked up 4 in an innings and 5 for the match – including the prized wicket of Alastair Cook. The English side later went on to win the Test series against India. In that Ranji season, the right hander played some crucial knocks with the bat – including a career-best 211 in a record-breaking eighth wicket stand with Amit Mishra. His second innings knock of 66 against Orissa too stood out.
In the 2014-15 Ranji season, Jayant scalped some 33 wickets to become the leading wicket-taker from his side. He picked up 13 of them alone in a tie against Saurashtra. In a few months, he featured in three IPL games for Delhi Daredevils picking 2 wickets with good economy. Next he played against the reserve sides from South Africa and Bangladesh – picking up 14 wickets from 6 innings. He also scored his second Ranji hundred the following season and was involved in a 206-run partnership with Virender Sehwag.
Although not much stellar shows, Jayant – who also happens to be the nephew of former AAP leader Yogendra Yadav – played helping hands for both his domestic and IPL franchise. He bowled many a tight spell in the T20 format that selected him for India’s tour to Zimbabwe. However, the rookie off-spinner could not get a game in the tour but however was rewarded with another call-up to the India-A squad for the tour of Australia last August-September.
It was here that the Haryana all-rounder blossomed. Besides making some crucial contribution with the bat, the tweaker picked up 7 wickets from 2 unofficial Tests. Later, he was again brought into the national fold in place of the injured Hardik Pandya for the ODI series against New Zealand last October. This time however he made his maiden appearance for the national side in the series decider at Visakhapatnam and was remembered for his 4-over spell in which he picked up the wicket of the dangerous Corey Anderson for 8 runs.
Weeks later, he replaced his Haryana teammate Amit Mishra for his Test debut at the same coastal city. Displaying his grit in batting – perhaps a reward of playing on the bowler’s paradise at Lahli for Haryana – the newcomer played two vital knocks of 35 and 27 to bail out his side from trouble. He also picked up four wickets in his side’s crushing victory over England. In the very next match, the spin trio of Ashwin, Jadeja and Yadav all hit fifties at Mohali in a rare feat by No. 7, 8 and 9 to take their side from 204-6 to a respectable 417. The off-spinner also picked up two wickets in each innings for another winning cause.
A special mention about Yadav that as an off-spinner and a lower-order batsman, he has done most of his domestic tasks at in a seamer-friendly home ground and has tussled with another two popular names in spin – Amit Mishra and Yuzvendra Chahal – for a place in the first eleven for Haryana. Provided that he has made regular features for his domestic side in a condition which has lesser for turners, it is clear that he has abilities to play strong and mature. In his brief stint for the Daredevils this year, he has been advocated by Rahul Dravid – who groomed him in both in IPL and India-A – to bowl in the powerplays and as a spinner his figures agree to the fact that he came out with flying colours.
With Jadeja having a habit of blowing hot and cold with his bat generally has talked lesser in the past year or so, Yadav has a good chance to promote himself deputy to Ashwin with his better batting prowess and hopefully with more international exposure. Unlike the Saurashtra southpaw, this new recruit might not have a couple of triple hundreds under his belt at the domestic circuit, but he surely puts more price on his wicket than Jadeja. At the moment, the morning has been sunny and we can only hope it has truly shown us the day as well.
Photo by Luke Hayfield Photography