Jadeja’s contribution in India’s eight-wicket victory against Australia at the MCG on Tuesday can’t be ignored as he scored an important half-century, picked three wickets and also took two catches in his 50th Test.
Asked if India could look at Jadeja as a pure batsman, Shastri said: “He is a genuine all-rounder and that’s why he bats where he is. He can bat at No.6 or even No.5, on given occasions but is a genuine all-rounder. That’s why he lends a lot of balance to the side.”
For someone who has 216 Test wickets apart from 1926 runs, Jadeja’s restrictive left-arm spin and ability to quickly get through his overs gives respite to the team’s fast bowlers.
“Also when we play overseas, there is a chance of one of the (fast) bowlers getting injured. You saw with Umesh (Yadav),” said Shastri, referring to the bowler, who is set to miss the next Test due to a calf muscle injury.
“With Jadeja, you get that balance and also the fast bowlers get a respite with both Jaddu and Ash (R Ashwin) bowling.”