2017 in review: The triumph of the unknown
Billy Remmington goes back to January to look at when England were put to the sword by India’s least heralded batsman.
Kedar Jadhav: 120 (76b, 12x4s, 4x6s), 1st ODI v England, Pune, 15 January
England had plenty of reason to be afraid of India’s batsmen coming into their first ODI against them back in January; MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are all among the greatest ODI players of all time, and they’d just been given a 4-0 Test humbling by the same opposition. But having put 350 on the board and reduced India to 65-4, they appeared to be cruising, back to the comfort of their strongest format. Then relative unknown Kedar Jadhav, coming in at No. 6, changed the complexion of the contest.
Jadhav’s innings was a masterclass in composure and controlled aggression; just a quarter of the balls he faced were dots, while the flurry of boundaries he started with took some of the heat off a rapidly growing asking rate. In fact, it was a knock worthy of his more established skipper Virat Kohli, whom he outscored in a double-century partnership.
Jadhav saved his most severe treatment for Adil Rashid, taking the leg-spinner for 31 runs from just 12 balls, twice forcing England captain Eoin Morgan to remove his most potent weapon from the attack.
The only qualm to be had with the innings were his breathless and cramp-inducing attempts to keep up with his notoriously rapid batting partner when running between the wickets – considering the carnage, he can be forgiven the cardiovascular struggles, and all it did was give him glorious licence to swing hard as the innings reached its climax.
When he was dismissed, he’d brought the required run rate to below a run a ball, and ensured that in the future there’d be one extra batsman England would have nightmares about.