Most pitches on which the Ranji Trophy is played are typical Indian wickets — slow and dry — yet a batsman requires a fair amount of skill, determination, concentration and stamina to reach the three-figure mark. Jadeja has done it twice in the past one month and, incredibly, both have been triple hundreds. His 320 not out against Railways in Rajkot on Sunday made him the first Indian batsman to score three First-Class triples, with his first having come against Orissa in Cuttack last year. Last month, he scored an unbeaten 303 against Gujarat in Surat.
The 24-year-old Jadeja sits atop a list that includes Vijay Hazare, VVS Laxman, Wasim Jaffer and Raman Lamba — all of whom have made two triple centuries. He is only the eighth batsman to have scored three or more triples, a club that includes, among others, Don Bradman (6), Wally Hammond (4), Brian Lara (3) and Michael Hussey (3) [see the full list in the box].
And yet, Jadeja isn’t by any stretch of the imagination pushing for a place among the pantheon of greats — even Indian greats.
Rather, by Jadeja’s own admission, his insatiable hunger for runs this season has its origins in his desire to prove to his detractors that he is not just a flash in the pan, or, in other words, a T20 hit. It was during a long drive from Jamnagar to Rajkot, before the start of this domestic season that Jadeja willed himself to score at least 700 runs. He also adds that he had set his sights on three triple hundreds.
After batting for two days at the Khanderi Stadium, Jadeja has achieved one target and almost closed in on the other. And the season is not over yet, not by a distance.
“If you ask me what I need the most now it is a good night’s sleep,” Jadeja told The Indian Express at the end of the second day’s play. The innings demanded patience because when Jadeja walked out to bat on Saturday, Saurashtra were 90/4. He was batting on 111 at stumps on Day 1. On Sunday, the hosts were 534 for 6.
“We needed a long partnership which Kotak and I got. I still can’t believe that I have scored another triple hundred, but it was my aim to score big runs. People consider me a T20 and an ODI specialist and I knew that if I score 60s or 70s, it will not help me or my team. Now, I hope that people will change their impression about me and consider me good enough to score runs in the longer format too,” he said.
Though he has fallen down the pecking order in Team India’s scheme of things, the all-rounder believes that he will make a comeback to international cricket. “I don’t interact much with people. So they think I’m an akdoo (arrogant). I can’t change that perception, but I hope that these runs will help me make a comeback to the Indian team,” Jadeja said. So is he eyeing 400? “I’m not thinking about it.”
Brief scores: Saurashtra 534 for 6 (R Jadeja batting 320, K Makvana 78*, S Kotak 68, H Rathod 2/84, S Bangar 2/89) v Railways
Is the number of batsmen, including Jadeja, who have made three triple hundreds in the history of first-class cricket. The other batsmen are: Don Bradman (six in 234 matches), Bill Ponsford (four in 162), Wally Hammond (four in 634), WG Grace (three in 870), Graeme Hick (three in 526), Brian Lara (three in 261) and Michael Hussey (three in 265). Jadeja, 24, has played only 41 matches.
Jadeja’s 320* ton is the 29th in the Ranji Trophy’s history and 35th First-Class triple century on Indian soil. In the 2012-13 season, there have been three triple tons, with Kedar Jadhav of Maharashtra scoring the other one.