Half way through the first test between India and New Zealand, veteran commentator Ian Smith came out with a very interesting statement. He boldly stated that Ravindra Jadeja was the “best ever fielder” that India have produced. The other players who could lay a claim to this title are Yuvraj Singh, Mohammed Kaif, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina. Below I have given my opinion on Jadeja in relation to these players.
A total cricketer who is simply good at every thing that he does. So much so brilliant that he is brilliant at growing a moustache. He is electric in the field, so fast that taking any sort of run to him is a risk. Currently he is up their as India’s best fielder.
He probably was the Indian who made fielding “sexy” for his nation. Yuvraj along with Kaif were the first two players to show the senior players that fielding was important. Their selection to the national side was very important as it probably inspired the current crop of players to work hard on their fielding. He made the point position his own until recently for India. It seems that Yuvraj will always be remembered as a great fielder but I would rank Jadeja slightly higher because of his pace around the field. He can field anywhere but Yuvraj has only really shown his value at point. I have also seen Yuvraj go through the complacent stage where he put on weight and didnt concentrate as much on his game. He is now back looking lean and back to his old great fielding.
Maybe the first player to get into the side because of his fielding ability over batting or bowling. Kaif was an electric fielder, very fast chasing the ball around the field. There were times that Kaif and Yuvraj stifled teams. He was unlucky not be given much of a chance in test cricket, his fielding may have gone to the next level. A great fielder but I feel Jadeja is naturally more athletic.
The aggressive batting and part time bowling is supplemented by his great fielding prowess. He is up there with one of India’s greatest. He has fielded in many positions most recently being employed in the slips. From the outside it looks as if Kohli puts allot of effort in fielding. I personally cannot distinguish him from Jadeja.
Like Kaif it could be argued that he is currently being retained in the ODI side due to his great fielding. In my opinion he is the best Indian fielder I have seen. I have seen him take all types of catches and run out. On the boundary he has used the parry back well. It is hard to say that he is better than Kohli or Jadeja but I feel his fielding has been better over a prolonged period of time. His inclusion in the world cup quarter final against Australia probably changed the course of the world cup, not only for him seeing India through with the bat but also his fielding saved at least 15 runs.