Explained: Why is Ravindra Jadeja batting at No.5

It’s for the left-right combination to try to upset the bowler’s rhythm. The coach Ravi Shastri has been a long-time advocate of having left-handers in the mix and was one of the key proponents of having Rishabh Pant and Jadeja in the same XI in Tests for more than three years now.

Would this have happened if not for Rahane’s form?

No, it would not have. If he was scoring runs, why would they experiment with an alternative? Especially on this track in the second innings on a relatively flat track. They have pushed up Jadeja who has looked secure but hasn’t scored big runs yet. This is not the case of the 2001 series against Australia where VVS Laxman was promoted to No.3 in place of Rahul Dravid after being asked to follow-on. That was a case of sending an in-form batsman up the order. This isn’t. If Rahane was among runs, there was a lesser chance of this happening.
This is not also the case of sending a batsman up the order to get quick runs or force the pace – like they did by sending Pant ahead of Hanuma Vihari at Sydney in Australia. This is to send a left-handed batsman to try to upset the bowlers’ lines and to send someone who looks more secure than Rahane against the moving ball.

What’s the logic of left-hand right-hand combination?

The theory, and sound at that, is that the bowler can’t settle into a rhythm. They can’t just keep doing what they have been doing so far. They have to change their lines and the type of deliveries and alter their grips and release positions. It can upset their rhythm.

How good is Jadeja against the new ball?

In current form, better than Rahane and Pant for sure. Ever since he hit an 87 against England on the same pitch in 2018 to pull India from a hole in the first innings of that game, Jadeja’s batting has stepped up to another level. He is very compact, gets a decent forward stride, tries his best to play as close to the body as possible. Even though he hasn’t scored many runs in this series, he has looked better than Rahane and Pant; a bit more solid, a bit more secure.

Should Pant have been given a go ahead instead of Jadeja?

Had he been batting better, that could well have happened. He does open in the IPL and the new ball isn’t alien to him. But his form has been patchy and he hasn’t looked remotely solid against the moving ball. And Rahane has more runs than him this series.

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