After pipping India’s most successful bowler in Test cricket (currently) – Ravichandran Ashwin in India’s playing XI, Ravindra Jadeja was more than happy to justify his selection by playing a game-changing knock versus West Indies in 1st Test. Coming in to bat at number eight, Jadeja smashed a crucial fifty to propel India to 297 runs in the first innings. The visitors were in a spot of bother at 189/6 when the left-hander scored 58 runs to improve the situation.

After scoring a half-century against West Indies on day two, the ace all-rounder said that he was just worried about his game and was trying to give his best. “When I was batting out there in the middle, I just looked to build a partnership. I was focussing to play with the tailenders. I was just worried about my game, I was trying to give my best out on the park,” Jadeja told reporters after the close of play on day 2 of the first Test match.

Wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant was not able to stay at the crease for a long time on day 2, and as a result, Ishant Sharma came into bat next. He along with Jadeja stitched together a 60-run stand, giving India much-needed relief.

Jadeja said that he was constantly talking to Ishant to put together a strong partnership.

“I just looked to build a partnership. I was constantly talking to Ishant, and we talked about staying out in the middle for as long as possible. We were thinking about one over at a time,” Jadeja said.

“I am just very positive in my mind, my shot selection is positive. When Rishabh got out, I was talking to Ishant about staying out in the middle and building a partnership. It is not good for opponents if the lower order is constantly scoring runs, so it was the gameplan from our side,” he added.

Jadeja was chosen over spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for the first Test match. Many former cricketers have criticised the decision of leaving out Ashwin, but Jadeja said that a player feels good when he knows he has the backing of the skipper.

“Obviously you feel good when the skipper believes in you, thinks of you as the main player. Luckily, I have been able to repay the faith by performing well,” Jadeja said.

When India came out to bowl, Ishant was the trump card for skipper Virat Kohli. Ishant bowled with line and length which resulted in him getting a five-wicket haul and as a result, at the close of play, West Indies were left at 189/8.

“Ishant bowled well. The two caught and bowled were remarkable, and I believe those two dismissals as the turning point,” Jadeja said.

“On this wicket, you have to bowl in the right areas. Ishant’s rhythm improved by each over he bowled. If he did not hold on to two return catches, the situation might have been different. Those two dismissals helped us in turning the momentum into our side,” he added.

Jadeja also gave his views on the condition of the pitch in Antigua. He said the wicket has bounce and it will keep on assisting pacers.

“I talked to both Ishant and Bumrah. We knew if we kept believing in our defense and technique, then we can stay out in the middle. The wicket has bounce and the ball was also moving around. As the game has progressed, the wicket has settled down, but the bounce is still there and it is helping the fast bowlers,” Jadeja said.

West Indies will resume day three of the first Test at 189/8, still 108 runs behind India.