Certain stories are about grit, determination and never giving up. For a man of modest background, plenty of shortcomings and a steely grit, the story of Kedar Jadhav is an inspiring tale for thousands of aspiring cricketers around the world. He is the epitome of versatility as he started off as a proper batsman, developed himself as a keeper and eventually transformed to a handy part-time off-spinner He has recently made a name for himself as a lower-order finisher playing some crucial knocks, most notably with Virat Kohli in Pune, where he outplayed Kohli in a run chase. He also provided a bowling option, picking up important wickets in the series against New Zealand.
Kedar Jadhav was born on 26 March 1985 in Pune in a middle-class family which originally hails from Jadhavwadi in Madha, Maharashtra. He is the youngest of four children; his three elder sisters excelled in studies while Jadhav switched to cricket after ninth grade. His father, Mahadev Jadhav, was employed as a clerk with the Maharashtra State Electricity Board.
Jadhav started playing cricket at the PYC Hindu Gymkhana. He initially represented Rainbow Cricket Club in tennis ball cricket tournaments, his pull shots straight down the ground are as a result of his tennis ball upbringing. He is quite short in stature and stands at about 5 ft. 3 inches, a height at which you’re constantly challenged with the short ball. It is a testament to his hard work that he is regarded as one of the best players of the short ball in the domestic circuit.
Jadhav had been a consistent performer at Ranji Trophy level for over a decade but it was in 2012 when he made his mark scoring 327 against UP, the second highest by a Maharashtra batsman ever in domestic cricket. He had a breakthrough 2013-14 Ranji season, amassing 1,223 runs with six centuries. He was the highest run-scorer in that season and the fourth highest of all time in domestic cricket.
An underdog who had been a run machine for Maharashtra, Jadhav finally caught the eye of the selection panel and got a call to represent the national team against Bangladesh in 2014. However, he didn’t get a chance to play in the series eventually debuting against Sri Lanka in the same year. It didn’t take him long to register a century as he scored 105 off 87 balls, against Zimbabwe in 2015.
Jadhav, who was initially in the Royal Challengers Bangalore development squad, was signed by Delhi Daredevils in 2010. He made an immediate impact as he scored a 29-ball 50 in his debut IPL match. In 2013, he was signed up by the Delhi Daredevils and played a few matches without being successful. He was released and bought back by Delhi in the 2014 IPL auction for a hefty 2 crore. He eventually returned to RCB in 2016.
At 32 years, Kedar Jadhav is a late bloomer but he has shown what it takes to fight the odds and play for the country. He is an ideal utility player who can bat, bowl and occasionally keep – a captain’s delight and a rarity these days. Jadhav epitomizes the fact that nothing is impossible, if you put in the hard yards, you can get where you need to be.