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Ravindra Jadeja rated India’s most valuable Test player in 21st century

Flamboyant all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja has been named as India’s most valuable Test player in the 21st century by the Wisden magazine. With an MVP rating of 97.3, the 31-year-old Jadeja was also rated as the second-most valuable Test player worldwide, behind Sri Lanka legend Muttiah Muralitharan. “It has been a dream to play for India and above that when you are rewarded for being the most valuable player, you feel even more blessed,” Jadeja said. “Would want to thank all my fans, teammates, coaches and support staff for their unconditional love and support.” Jadeja has played in 49 Tests since making his debut in 2012, scoring 1,869 runs with one century and 14 fifties to his name. He has picked up 213 Test wickets.

Based on analytics provided by CricViz, each player in world cricket has been awarded an ‘MVP rating’ using a statistical model to rank their ‘match impact’ compared to their peers. “It might come as a surprise to see Jadeja... feature as India’s No. 1. After all, he’s not even always an automatic pick in their Test team. However, when he does play he is picked as a frontline bowler and has batted as high as No.6 — contributing to a very high match involvement,” said CricViz’s Freddie Wilde. He added, “But Jadeja’s position is based on more than simply volume: it’s what he does when he’s involved that really counts...His batting and bowling average differential of 10.62 runs is the second best of any player this century to have scored more than 1,000 runs and taken 150 wickets.”

From a statistical point of view, the impact of an all-rounder can be measured by taking the batting and bowling average differential, i.e., by subtracting the bowling average from the batting average of the all-rounder. Jadeja's batting and bowling average differential of 10.62 runs is the second best of any player this century to have scored more than 1,000 runs and taken 150 wickets in Tests. In contrast, Shakib Al Hasan has a batting and bowling average differential of 8.29 while the figures for Ben Stokes and Ravichandran Ashwin are 3.85 and 2.68 respectively.

Former India batsman Aakash Chopra has lent his support towards Jadeja in the debate. Jadeja has been one of the most influential players on the field for India. He has a bullet throw and has one of the safest pairs of hands in world cricket. “He (Jadeja) is absolutely outstanding, he has a rocket arm, he has the best arm in world cricket right now, just look at his ground coverage, he is not the best while fielding at slips, but how does it matter,” Chopra said.

Talking about Kohli and Kapil Dev, Chopra said: “As you see him (Kohli) growing as a player, you see him growing as a fielder, he wants to be there fielding and this is what makes him super special. Everyone saw him (Kapil Dev) taking the catch of Vivian Richards in the finals of the 1983 World Cup, he had great hands and was very agile,” he added.

Yuvraj and Kaif are viewed as two of the most prominent names in Indian cricket to bring out about a renaissance in Indian fielding. The duo often used top field inside the thirtyyard circle in the first 15 overs, and then they were seen fielding at the outfield during the slog overs. Now, this can be seen with Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja as well. Both of them field at the boundary rope during the slog overs in white-ball cricket.

You can never put Jadeja out of the game. It is fitting that a threedimensional player like him was named India's 'Most Valuable Player' of the 21st century.

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