Sunday, December 3, 2023

‘Aussie Jaddu’ gets post-series chat with man himself

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Ravindra Jadeja is a man of his word.

India’s superstar allrounder promised Australian spinner Matt Kuhnemann a masterclass after the Border-Gavaskar series ended – and he did just that.

As soon as the fourth Test in Ahmedabad ended in a draw on Monday, Jadeja – one of India’s greatest red-ball players – made time to speak to the Australian newcomer.

A self-confessed “massive fan” of Jadeja, Kuhnemann revealed after the third Test (where he took first-class career-best figures of 5-16) that he had spoken with the Indian spin king after his debut in Delhi.

“I said, ‘have you got any tips for me after the (second) Test?’ He said ‘yes – at the end of the series’,” Kuhnemann said in Indore.

The left-armer was still buzzing on Tuesday about playing three Tests on his debut tour, after only flying over to join the squad following Australia’s series-opening defeat in Nagpur.

Adding to it all, Kuhnemann was nicknamed “Jaddu” by his Sheffield Shield teammates after running through South Australia in a game for Queensland in 2021.

“It was probably about 15 minutes, he (Jadeja) was just giving me some awesome tips; we talked about everything,” Kuhnemann told AAP.

“Nathan Lyon helped organised it (the chat) as well.

“He (Jadeja) was really impressed with Todd (Murphy), ‘Gaz’ (Lyon) and myself so that was really cool to hear that from him.

“He gave me some good tips for the next time we’re in the subcontinent and some tips to go back home with as well.

“He was really nice and just said any time to reach out, and even sent me a message on Instagram, so that was pretty cool.”

‘This is unreal’: Kuhnemann relishing first taste of Tests

Interacting with some of the game’s greats during a whirlwind month has only fuelled the 26-year-old’s hunger and desire to keep improving at international level.

Kuhnemann, Lyon and Murphy received the ultimate praise from Indian coach Rahul Dravid after the series, calling the Aussie trio the best spin attack the hosts had faced in their own conditions for more than a decade.

All three had their turn taking bags of wickets across the four Tests, claiming 45 scalps between them, headlined by Lyon’s 22.

“The way that it happened, I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Kuhnemann said.

“Nathan Lyon took myself and Todd under his wing from the get go, he was pretty much like a big brother to us over here.

“I think we’re very lucky to have ‘Gaz’ and his experience to learn off.

“I’m ready to get back in the nets, get back in there after speaking to Jadeja.

“I’m really keen to tinker with a couple of things, trying to just keep improving my skills and play as much cricket as I can.”

If all of that wasn’t enough, Kuhnemann put his hand up to open as a nightwatchman during Australia’s second innings in Ahmedabad after Usman Khawaja was troubled by a leg injury.

Kuhnemann became the first Australian to open an innings and bat at No.11 in the same Test match since 1929.

Qantas ODI Tour of India 2023

First ODI: Friday March 17, Mumbai (7pm AEDT)

Second ODI: Sunday March 19, Vizag (7pm AEDT)

Third ODI: Wednesday March 22, Chennai (7pm AEDT)

All matches broadcast live and exclusive on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa

India squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, K L Rahul, Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya (vc), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umran Malik, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Jaydev Unadkatt

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