The Saurashtra cricketer has won three Man of the Match awards and very well deserved his fourth one as well. The jury picked Ruturaj Gaikwad for his classy 44-ball 60 on a very difficult batting surface. However, they might just have overlooked Jadeja’s contribution.
While Jadeja’s 16-ball stay for 22 runs ensured that CSK posted an above-par total of 172, him cleaning the stumps of David Miller was the biggest turning point of the match. Earlier, he broke the threatening 28-ball 31-run partnership between Dasun Shanaka and Shubman Gill by dismissing the Sri Lankan.
Shanaka had just started to get in the groove with a four and a six when the left-arm spinner struck. His unplayable delivery in the 13th over castled Miller for four off six balls. The required run rate for Gujarat Titans (GT) went past 12 for the first time after that dismissal.
Deepak Chahar capitalised on it on the first ball of the following over by getting the wicket of in-from Shubman Gill who tried to up the ante by clearing the boundary ropes with a pull shot but ended up getting caught at fine leg. GT lost the plot in a span of just three balls.
22 off 16, two wickets for 18 runs in four overs and a handy catch should have seen Jadeja get the Man of the Match award. Many thought he would get it after being given the Dream11 Gamechanger of the Match and Upstox Most Valuable Player of the Match awards.
Impact wise Jadeja played a bigger role throughout the match but nonetheless, Jadeja looked satisfied with the other two awards. One of them also allowed him to take a cheeky dig at CSK fans. “Upstox knows but..some fans don’t,” Jadeja tweeted with a picture of him receiving the ‘Most Valuable Player’ award.
Why Jadeja’s stance against CSK fans is justified
Chennai fans have been famously called the most knowledgeable cricket fans in the country. They know their cricket and they respect and acknowledge the efforts of players regardless of the team they are representing. That’s one reason why even Pakistan have liked playing at the Chepauk in Chennai.
However, their love for Dhoni has made them blind and insensitive at times. The CSK fans do love and respect the other CSK players and the extra bit of love for Dhoni, who could retire after the IPL 2023 season, is also justified.
But it should not be at the cost of hurting the sentiments of other players. Getting into the shoes of Jadeja is also important. He took over CSK captaincy with a lot of grit and determination but could not succeed.
Dhoni had taken the centre stage during the entire transition period as well. To be honest, Jadeja was shown as a dummy captain during his short tenure and Dhoni’s ‘honest and brutal’ assessment of Jadeja’s captaincy post his unceremonious exit did not help others.
There were a lot of reports doing the rounds before CSK managed to retain Jadeja back. With Dhoni around, CSK and its fans forget that Jadeja is arguably the best all-rounder in the world. His stature in the Indian team is as big as Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma’s. He is alongside the two stalwarts as one of the only four cricketers in the A+ category.
The 34-year-old showed great character and heart by staying at the franchise and giving it his all. The least the fans can do is not do what he doesn’t like. Despite his public announcement that fans celebrate his dismissal to welcome Dhoni, the scenario hasn’t changed.
Maybe, Dhoni also realises it. He specifically talked about Jadeja in the post-match presentation ceremony and praised him.
“If Jaddu gets conditions that help him. He’s very difficult to hit. His bowling changed the game. Not to forget his partnership with Moeen.”
Jadeja, a hardworking elite India cricketer, is asking for nothing but for a bit of sensitiveness and respect from his own fans. He is brave enough to ask for it and he deserves it.
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