Under the heroics of Rishabh Pant’s record knock of 146 and Jasprit Bumrah’s rare all-round brilliance, Ravindra Jadeja’s batting feat got overshadowed. But the all-rounder, who was making his comeback to the sport after the Chennai Super Kings captaincy debacle, played a crucial role in India amassing 416 runs in the first innings against England in the Edgbsaton Test. Besides ably supporting Pant as the sixth-wicket pair added a record 222-run stand, Jadeja also notched up his third Test century. And following the knock on Saturday, Jadeja gave a savage reply to James Anderson’s comment on his batting, while recalling the ugly 2014 series spat.
Speaking to the press at the end of Day 2 where Jadeja’s 104-run knock, before Bumrah’s batting feat helped India finish with a massive total, Anderson said, “In the past he was coming at 8, bat with the tail so he had to chance his arm a little bit, whereas now at 7 he can bat like a proper batter. He leaves really well and made it difficult for us.”
When asked about Anderson’s comment in the post-match conference, Jadeja recalled the 2014 incident. “See, when you score runs, everyone says they think of themselves as a proper batter. But I’ve always tried to give myself time at the crease, to set a partnership with whoever is at the crease, to play with him. It’s nice Anderson has realised that after 2014,” he said.
During the series back in 2014, which is mostly remembered as Virat Kohli’s forgettable tour of England, the spat had begun in the opening Test and continued in the second when Anderson and Jadeja was seen in a heated exchange of words as the two teams made their way back to the pavilion for lunch. But what really unfolded was in the corridor leading to the respective dressing room, the details of which still remain unclear.
Then India team manager Sunil Dev had lodged a complaint after the end of the Test match, alleging Anderson for abusing and pushing” Jadeja. Anderson was later charged with a Level 3 offence.
“Mahi [Dhoni] and everyone complained that he [Anderson] physically touched him [Jadeja] and pushed him. It was all over the dressing room,” Dev had told ESPNcricinfo. “It is serious matter only because you can’t push anybody. So I put in a complaint with the match referee.”
Further speaking on his knock in Birmingham, Jadeja said, “In England you have play close to the body. The ball swings here so if you look to play the cover- or square-drive there is a chance you can edge to the cordon. My focus was to initially not play at too many balls outside off-stump. When the cover or point is vacant there is a temptation to hit the ball through that area for a boundary, but then you can get out in the slips. My thought was only to hit the ball that was really close to me and to hit it straight. Luckily, all the balls that I picked were in my areas and converted them into boundaries. If you know where your off-stump is, then you can leave the balls outside that line.”