Recently while commentating for the World Cup cricket, former cricketer turned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar created furore by calling all rounder Ravindra Jadeja a “bits and pieces player”. It’s a different story altogether that Ravindra Jadeja paid back by playing the knock of his life in the semifinal fixture between India and New Zealand.
But why so much noise has been created on this admittedly unwanted comment ! There was a time in cricket when we had 5 specialist batsmen, 5 specialist bowlers and a wicketkeeper. Once the first five batsmen were out, wicket keeper, who could bat a bit would delay the end of the innings for a few overs along with tailenders. Tailenders were not expected to last more than a few balls- remember Bedi, Prasanna and Chandra, who went inside just to come back. Though we did have all rounders earlier- Gary Sobers, Vinu Mankad etc., genuine all rounders came much later. We had Eknath Solkar, who could bat a bit, bowl a bit but could also merit a place in side on the strength of his fielding as also Abid Ali, Ghavri etc. However, the respect for all rounders got cemented firmly by the troika of Botham, Imran and Kapil and all rounders actually became strength of a team rather than being bits and pieces players.
Ravindra Jadeja should not take any offence to this unwanted comment by Manjrekar. For once, all all -rounders in that sense are bits and pieces players for they can do a bit of this, a bit of that and a bit of everything. By this analogy, Sanjay has inadvertently placed Ravindra in the grand company great all rounders as named above. Secondly, the comment itself came from a player who himself was a bits and pieces player averaging 33 in 37 odd tests that he played! An ordinary player cannot be expected to have an extraordinary judgement!