Ravindra Jadeja: The journey of a fighter who never gives up

XtraTime Web Desk: The semi final against New Zealand could easily become the biggest comeback win in the history of Indian cricket. But do you know how tough it was for him to grow up as a champion cricketer?

Born in a middle class Rajput family to a watchman, Ravindra Jadeja did not enjoy many privileges in his childhood. His mother had passed away when he was just 17, and his sister took it upon her shoulders to support the family in whatever way she could, eventually getting her mother’s job as a nurse. Even today, Jadeja is very close with his sister, and she is someone with whom he shares everything.

Though Jadeja never quit going to school, he was already too much into the sport before the age of 10. He was often bullied by older boys, who never gave him a chance to bat. He used to cry every night before going to sleep. Mahendrasinh Chauhan, a policeman by profession who was also a small-time cricketer, used to coach young cricketers at a place called Cricket Bungalow. He had a technique of teaching flight for spin bowlers by making a boy stand in the middle of the pitch and ask the bowler to bowl over his head. Chauhan changed Jadeja’s cricketing life completely, for he was extremely strict with discipline.

Jadeja was given the option of either getting selected at the Cricket Bungalow or being sent away to an army school. Managing to get into it, he started off as a fast bowler, and later switched to a mainstream left-arm spinner on the instructions of Chauhan. Jadeja had a problem of walking in his sleep, and he was often disciplined by Chauhan, who slapped him. There was even an instance when Jadeja turned out to be an expensive bowler in a match, and he ended up taking five wickets by the end of the game, only after Chauhan slapped him in the middle of the pitch, in front of everyone.

At the age of 16, Jadeja made his debut in Under-19 cricket for India in 2005. He was also the vice-captain of the Indian team that won the 2008 Under-19 Cricket World Cup.

He made his first-class debut in the 2006–07 Duleep Trophy, where he plays for West Zone. He plays for Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy. In the year 2012, at the age of 23, he became the eighth player in history of cricket, and the first Indian, to make three triple hundreds in domestic cricket, joining the likes of Don Bradman, Brian Lara, Bill Ponsford, Walter Hammond, W.G. Grace, Graeme Hick, and Mike Hussey.

Shining well in the 2008-09 Ranji season with 739 runs and 42 wickets, he was selected for the international team. Since then he never had to look back. A champion fielder, a top class left-arm spinner, a more than useful lower-order batsman and above all, a fighter in any situation.

Players come and go, one cannot win all the battles, but the fight of Jadeja has taught the nation how a battle can be fought.

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