New Delhi, Dec 5: Back in the Indian cricket team after a six-month hiatus, left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja is happy to have proved a point or two to his critics with consistent performances during the ongoing four-Test series against South Africa.
The Saurashtra all-rounder has done well with both bat and ball and has formed an effective partnership with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
"I want to prove myself in all matches I play for India. I had encountered a lot of negativity when I was dropped. I do not want that to happen again. But now that I am back in form, I am feeling a lot more confident. I will try to do well in the upcoming matches as well," Jadeja said after the third day's play in the fourth Test here on Saturday.
Jadeja is the second highest wicket-taker of the current series with 21 scalps, being only behind Ashwin. He has also scored 109 runs in what has been a very low-scoring series.
"I had stopped thinking about cricket for a three-month period. I am into horse riding and was involved in that for that period. When the Ranji Trophy season was about to start, I was selected in my state team. The first three matches were at my home ground in Rajkot. So luck also favoured me a bit. I got the result of my hard work," said the 26-year-old.
"We had a 20-day preparation camp before the start of the season. (Former Saurashtra batsman) Sitanshu (Kotak) gave me a lot of advice. He knows me since the Under-14 level. He knows my strengths and weak points very well and advised me on how to improve my technique. So when the season started, I was ready to perform well," he said.
Jadeja credited his fellow spinners Ashwin and Amit Mishra for helping him rediscover his form and perform at his best.
"I did not try anything different and only bowled as I normally do in Ranji Trophy. Me, Ashwin bhai and Mishi bhai are all bowling well. We back each other. I did not plan too much about my bowling, but only wanted to prove myself," he remarked.
"Me and Ashwin know each other very well. We communicate a lot during practice as well as during matches. Both of us have done well in this series. We had done well in the series against Australia as well."
The pitches had come in for a lot of criticism during the earlier Test matches, but Jadeja asserted that the surface at Ferozeshah Kotla is not too difficult and is not affording the hosts too much home advantage.
"Both batsmen and bowlers are doing well. Both teams have two spinners each. So they cannot say that this is a pitch that favours the spinners too much. I do not think that the wicket is too difficult. It's only that we batted well in the first innings and they did not. So we got a sizeable lead," the southpaw said.
"As the game progresses, the wicket will start to deteriorate. We are in a good position now so we have to ensure that we get them out cheaply in their second innings. I do not think that the wicket played too big a role in giving us the advantage. This is a much better wicket than the one at Nagpur."