As Ravindra Jadeja brought up his second Test century, the on-air commentary made a mention of the ‘rockstar’ nickname given to him by legendary leg-spin great Shane Warne during the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008. It was quite ironic that a day after Warne’s sudden demise at the age of 52, Jadeja raced to his century, eventually ending up unbeaten at a career-best 175.
Everything about Jadeja’s mammoth knock had the feel of a rockstar. The ease with which he reached his fifty, solid defence mixed with lovely shots travelling off his bat to the boundary rope, his involvement in three 100-plus stand with Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin and Mohammed Shami, Jadeja’s knock reiterated his rockstar abilities Warne had said in 2008.
“Absolutely shocked to hear about Shane Warne. A terrific statesman of our game. May God bless his soul and my condolences to his loved ones,” Jadeja had tweeted on Friday, just after the world got to know of Warne’s sudden demise in Thailand.
Replying to the all-rounder’s post, broadcaster Harsha Bhogle recalled on Twitter the ‘rockstar’ conversation with Warne during 2008 IPL. “He loved you Jaddu. Remember the time in 2008 at the DY Patil Stadium… He called you over and said to me ‘This kid is a rockstar’. We chatted more than once about you and he was very fond of you and of Yusuf.”
Jadeja replied with, “Yes harsha bhai, I still remember that chat. Really sad news.” On Saturday, just after Jadeja reached the three-figure mark and took out his trademark sword celebration, Rajasthan Royals, where Warne and Jadeja were together for the inaugural IPL win in 2008, tweeted, “100* off 160. Rockstar Jadeja. You’ve made him proud.”
In 2017, Jadeja, quoted as saying in Sportstar, had spoken about his brush with Warne and the ‘rockstar’ term coined for him in 2008. “Then I didn’t know what rockstar meant. When I met Shane Warne for the first time, I didn’t know he was such a great bowler in Test cricket. He used to call me ‘rockstar’, and I used to wonder that I don’t sing songs, nor do I do anything… then why he’s calling me rockstar?
“I just asked one of my friends why he is calling me ‘rockstar’. He said that was probably because I put too much zinc on my face. Well, all I can say is I kept working hard on my game and kept improving my skills, whether it was bowling or batting.'”
Though it took time for Jadeja to prove Warne right on the rockstar front and eventually did it on a fine Saturday morning against Sri Lanka, cricket’s biggest showman must be one pleased soul in the heaven on being proved right.