Ravindra Jadeja’s absence due to injury is a “massive loss” but Virat Kohli’s return to form and Jasprit Bumrah’s comeback would still make India a force to reckon with in the upcoming T20 World Cup, feels Sri Lanka legend Mahela Jayawardene.
Jadeja was left out of the 15-member Indian team for the T20 World Cup in Australia in October-November after the all-rounder suffered an injury during the Asia Cup.
“It is a challenge. They had fitted him (Jadeja) nicely in that No.5 role. He has been batting really well and him and Hardik (Pandya) being in that top six – two guys who can give that all-round options – gave India much more flexibility in that batting order,” Jayawardene was quoted as saying in The ICC Review.
“It is a tough one for them, and probably a concern not having that left-hander. They’ve switched to leaving out DK (Dinesh Karthik) and bringing in Rishabh (Pant) in that role, batting at 5 or 4. Those are things they have to settle going into the World Cup.
“But not having Jadeja, the form that he was in… it will be a massive loss for them,” the batting legend said of Jadeja.
Jayawardene said India can take solace in the return to form of star batter Kohli who broke his century drought that spanned 1,020 days, scoring his 71st international hundred when he smashed an unbeaten 122 against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup, though it was an inconsequential match.
“He (Kohli) was there and thereabouts pretty much. He just didn’t have that big score under his belt to get that confidence, especially in white-ball cricket, which is always going to happen,” said Jayawardene, who has been IPL side Mumbai Indians’ head coach.
“There were a few injury concerns in the last 12 months. He had little niggles and they rested him and India kept on giving people rest, with the workload that they had. So not having that consistent run also makes it tough.” “It’s good to see him (Kohli) batting like that. We need all these brilliant players to be at their best form in a World Cup, and that’s what the World Cup deserves as well. Everyone going at each other at that level. It will be a fascinating World Cup in Australia.
“For me the way they played, the skills, the talent, everything is there. They just need a little bit of confidence with the bat, with the ball and in the field. These are little things that India will want to improve. It’s just the confidence of bowlers being able to get wickets and then executing skills.” Jayawardene said India would be further bolstered by the return of pace ace Bumrah.
“Obviously, not having Jasprit (in Asia Cup) was also a factor. He fills a big gap for them with the new ball and at the back end. That will settle them as well when he is back in Australia.”