At the 'ripe' age of 42, Ajay Jadeja still wants to wield the willow for the sheer joy of it.
He doffs his hat to MS Dhoni and his team for their splendid run and wants people (read the BCCI) to punish players only when they are sure of some wrongdoing. Having been banned by the board for match-fixing, which was subsequently cleared, Jadeja wants the powers to be absolutely sure before they dish out punishment.
“I read somewhere that I am making a comeback. When did I quit to make a comeback? I have been playing for the last 25 years,” said Jadeja, after making a polished 37 for Haryana in the Buchi Babu tournament against Hyderabad.
“I wanted to have some fun and spend time with the kids and that's why I am playing here. I thoroughly enjoyed my stint in the middle,” he added.
India is presently going through a purple patch, winning almost everything. “When you play well consistently, results are bound to come. Do I need to say more? Yes, India are in the zone at the moment,” said Jadeja.
He praised Shikhar Dhawan. “When you have a player who plays like (Virender) Sehwag, what else do you want? Openers play an important role in a team's success. When you have a solid opening pair it is half the job done,” said the former international.
Jadeja says he is impressed by the way Ravindra Jadeja has been performing. “He has been the biggest plus for the team and played a role in the team's success,” he said.
What makes Dhoni click as a captain? “What I like most about Dhoni is his temperament. He never gets rattled and is always cool and composed,” said Jadeja.
Dhoni has been nominated by Kapil Dev to lead his India XI. But despite his huge success, Dhoni is still labelled as an instinctive captain and no credit is given to his cricketing acumen.
“People who doubt his cricketing acumen are jealous of his success. By instinct alone you cannot win so many tournaments. People who are jealous of his success keep talking like that,” opined Jadeja.
Rahul Dravid has suggested criminal punishment for fixers, and Jadeja seconds, though conditionally “Rahul has said only 'if' proven guilty, punishment should be given. According to me, any punishment would suffice, but only 'if' guilty,” he specified.
Is he still angry that his prime cricketing years were taken away from him? “There is no point in cribbing over the past. What happened in the past is gone,” he said, in a slightly dejected tone.
After clearing his name of match-fixing, did he ever think of suing the board? “What is the point in suing? You know about the courts, how long litigation takes. There is no point,” signed off Jadeja.