The match against Bangladesh could not have been a better comeback for Ravindra Jadeja. It was a lucky break with other players falling prey to injuries, but the left-hander took the opportunity with both hands.
However, he is now on the cusp of achieving a unique record - to be the highest wicket-taker for India in Asia Cup. While Sachin currently holds the record with 17 wickets, Jadeja will go into the match against Pakistan with 16 scalps to his name.
Jadeja has taken 16 wickets so far
While Tendulkar has 17 wickets from 23 encounters, which is a good feat considering he was part-time spinner at best, Jadeja has taken 16 in just 11 games. R Ashwin, who is currently at out of favour with the Indian selectors as far as white-ball cricket is concerned, occupies the third place with 14 wickets in just 7 matches.
Jadeja, who played his first ODI match in 15 months, was on fire against Bangladesh as he picked up the wickets of Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun and Mosaddek Hossain. He finished with figures of 4/29 – which is also his sixth four-wicket haul in ODI cricket – and was adjudged man of the match for his troubles.
"I will always remember this comeback because I returned to the team after a gap of around 480 days. The earlier gaps have not been this long," Jadeja said at the post-match press conference.
"The World Cup is still some time away, we're going to play a lot of matches before that, and I can't comment on that yet. My ambition is to perform the way I did today whenever I get the opportunity," he added, but there is little doubt that the selectors would be thrilled to have a firing Jadeja in contention, more so because he is a gun fielder and is more than handy with the bat lower down the order.
India will take on Pakistan in a high-voltage clash on Sunday and if the performance of the team in the tournament is anything to go by, they start as favourites.