India fielded two spin all-rounders in Ravindra Jadeja and Krunal Pandya in two T20Is against West Indies recently. The reasoning could be to shore up shaky middle-order and to add depth to the bowling attack in absence of a pace all-rounder in Hardik Pandya.
However, in the future, once Hardik is available, India could go with either of Ravindra or Krunal as their skill sets are similar. Both are left-arm orthodox bowler, efficient lower-order batsman capable of big hits, and sharp fielders.
So, how will India decide which all-rounder to go for if they have to choose from either of them? Cricwizz takes a look who is a better all-rounder between Krunal and Ravindra and can serve India better in limited-overs cricket.
The CSK player has loads of experience in T20 cricket, having played in IPL since the inaugural season for Rajasthan Royals. In 230 T20s, he has scored 2272 runs @ 22.27 with a highest score of 48. He was the standout player for Royals in the first IPL. Post that, he became a regular in CSK.
For India, he has played 42 T20Is, scoring just 135 runs @ 11.25. Batting lower down the order for India has not helped him much to exhibit his batting skills. But in ODIs, he has a fairly decent batting record, scoring 2128 runs @ 30.84 with 11 fifties.
But the stats do not tell the true story. Jadeja has been an under-achiever in limited-overs batting, considering he has three triple tons in First-Class cricket. His match-winning knocks are few and far between. Earlier, he has had the backing of MS Dhoni despite repeated failures, but under Virat Kohli, he has to prove himself every match. Kohli has been a tough master and does not fear to drop even big names. Hence, it’s seen Jadeja has performed better under Kohli across all formats.
Krunal is a new entrant to international cricket, having played only T20Is for India so far. He has scored 102 runs in 14 T20Is for India. In T20s, he has scored 1252 runs @ 24.54 with 2 fifties in 92 matches.
He has been a match-winner for his IPL team, Mumbai Indians. His fighting knock of 38-ball 47 in IPL 2017 final helped MI win their third IPL title. He has the knack of coming good with the bat when the team needs him the most. And hence, his big heart to fight till the end makes him a favourite for captains in any team.
Jadeja has 151 wickets in 230 T20s, and 32 wickets in 42 T20Is. Jadeja has 1 five-wicket haul in T20s. Jadeja has been more consistent with the ball than with the bat. He is consistent with his line and length and fools the batsman with his straighter ones. He is more of a containing bowler, trying to stop the flow of runs in the middle-overs. And if wickets do come by, it’s a bonus. And in limited-overs cricket, especially in T20s, when there is a need score runs at more than run a ball, consistency pays off with wickets.
He is more of thinking and attacking spin bowler who looks to take wickets every time. He has made AB de Villiers his bunny in IPL. He has the knack of picking up wickets in both powerplay and middle-overs. He has 77 wickets in 92 T20s and 14 wickets in 14 T20Is.
Jadeja is one of the best fielders around in Indian cricket. He can walk into a team just on the basis of his fielding skills as he can save 15-20 runs on the field. He can even pull of those direct hits at stumps with alarming consistency. He is a delight to watch when he’s fielding. He is a live wire on the field, always looking for the ball to come to him. He seldom drops a catch or misfields.
Pandya too is an excellent fielder but maybe not in the same level as Jadeja. Krunal is known for his athleticism on the field when he’s playing in T20s. His success rate in terms of taking catches is on par with Jadeja. In fact, it will be difficult to separate the two in terms of fielding. But Jadeja has evolved as world-class fielder over the years.
Krunal brings an X-factor to the squad as he can be counted upon in distress in all skills. He lacks the experience, as he has played just a handful of matches in T20Is.
But Jadeja, who was backed relentlessly by former skipper MS Dhoni, has been finally living up to his potential in all forms of cricket in the last few years.
But when it comes to selection in the XI, Krunal may be preferred over Jadeja as the former never-say-die attitude is the most preferred mantra in the shorter format. However, Krunal is yet to be tested in ODIs, but it won’t be far he makes his 50-overs debut.
Both are bits-and-pieces players, but when it comes to skills & experience, Jadeja wins the battle. However, Jadeja will have to continue performing as Krunal is looming to replace him in India’s plans for a bankable spin all-rounder.