There are a multitude of strong contenders for this week’s Cricket World Player of the Week award from Peter Fulton’s twin centuries in the Auckland Test to Shane Shillingford’s ten wickets against Zimbabwe and AB de Villiers’ series-clinching innings in the final ODI against Pakistan. However, because his performance helped his side achieve a historic 4-0 whitewash over Australia - and because the second of Fulton’s two centuries didn’t technically occur during the period under consideration - Ravindra Jadeja just pinches it due to his excellence in Delhi.
Jadeja was, to many, a surprise inclusion in India’s Test side for the final Test against England at the end of last year. However, he has proved many of his critics wrong with a string of top-class performances with the ball, most notably in the final Test against Australia. He took two wickets in the tourists’ first innings, but followed that up with a career-best five for 58 in their second. In between, he also chipped in with a brisk, and also career-best, 43 with the bat to secure him the man of the match award.
Jadeja has undoubtedly made the most of the tactics employed by India this winter - those of preparing slow, low, turning pitches - and it will be interesting to see how he fares when playing away from home, but he has largely out-bowled the more senior left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha. After five matches, Jadeja’s Test bowling average stands at the impressive figure of 19.85.
Other notable performers from last week besides Shillingford, Fulton and de Villiers include Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who both hit centuries in the second Test against Zimbabwe in Dominica. In South Africa, Misbah-ul-Haq and Imran Farhat each hit important half-centuries to help Pakistan set up a series decider, while Tillakaratne Dilshan hit a hundred of his own to help Sri Lanka take the early lead in the ODI series against Bangladesh. Finally, R Ashwin and Trent Boult returned five-wicket hauls in their matches against Australia and England respectively.
© Cricket World 2013
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