Jalaj Saxena is an Indian all-round cricketer who represents Kerala in domestic cricket. He has previously played for Chattisgarh for more than ten years and switched to Kerala in 2016. Three times recipient of the prestigious Lala Ram Best All-Rounder in Ranji Trophy Award, Jalaj is considered by many as the best all-rounder in India’s domestic cricket circuit.
Jalaj Saxena was born on Monday, 15 December 1986 (age 34 years; as of 2020) in Bhilai, Chhattisgarh. His full name is Jalaj Sahai Saxena. His zodiac sign is Sagittarius. He completed high school from B.S.P. English Medium Middle School, Sector 5, Bhilai. Jalaj was around 8 years old when he started playing cricket. After class four, he used to visit the school to appear for examination only. He completed his formal education while simultaneously focusing on cricket. He did secondary schooling from BSP Senior Secondary School sector 4, Bhilai, followed by graduation from Bhilai’s Kalyan College in 2003.
Height (approx): 5′ 10″
Eye Colour: Black
Hair Colour: Black
Family & Caste
His father, Ghanshyam Saxena, runs a Yoga institute called YogSharnam in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. His mother’s name is Manju Saxena.
His elder brother, Jatin Saxena, is also a professional cricketer and has played domestic cricket for Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
On 17 December 2005, at the age of 20, Jatin Saxena played his first domestic cricket match, representing Madhya Pradesh against Kerala in the 2005-06 Ranji Trophy. He gained the attention of Indian cricket selectors after his performances in the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy, where he scored 769 runs at an average of 69.90 including two centuries. Consequently, he has been selected in India A squad for a series against Australia A and New Zealand A. His performance was above average in both the series.
In the 2013-14 season of Ranji Trophy, Saxena amassed 545 runs and scalped 35 wickets, including three fifers and two ten-wicket hauls. He finished among the top wicket-takers of the season. In the 2014–15 Ranji Trophy, Saxena scored 768 runs at an average of 45.17. He scored three centuries in that season. In the 2015-16 Ranji Trophy season, Saxena scored 530 runs at an average of 44.16. He also performed exceptionally well with the ball taking 46 wickets, including four five-wicket hauls and one ten-wicket haul. During the tournament, he produced a magical bowling spell of 16 wickets for 154 runs in a match against Railways, registering the second-best bowling figures in the history of Ranji Trophy. After representing Madhya Pradesh for more than 10 years, Jalaj decided to continue his further cricket career by playing for Kerala. While explaining about the reason that compelled him to make a decision as big as this, he said,
I was scoring runs and picking wickets for Madhya Pradesh. But I felt if I move to a smaller team (Kerala) and perform there and take them to elite level then I would be noticed more and get the much-needed recognition. Kerala being a smaller team if they achieve something big with me performing good I would get the recognition, so that was the main reason and I took some risks to get the recognition.
With 44 wickets in the tournament, Saxena was the leading wicket-taker in the 2017–18 Ranji Trophy. In the next Ranji Trophy season, he was the leading run-scorer for Kerala. He also represented India Blue and India C in the 2019–20 Duleep Trophy and the 2019–20 Deodhar Trophy, respectively. From 1 August 2014, there were only five all-rounder cricketers in the world who had the combination of 3000+ runs and 150+ wickets, Jalaj Saxena stood third in the list.
He was the highest wicket-taker in Ranji Trophy from 2015-16 to 2019-2020 seasons of the tournament. The all-rounder even left behind bowlers on the list.
Indian Premier League (IPL)
Jalaj Saxena has been a part of three IPL franchises. Saxena was purchased by the Mumbai Indians for Rs. 90 lakh in the players’ auction ahead of IPL 2013.
He was replaced by West Indies batsman Lendon Simmons in the middle of IPL 2014. In the players’ auction for IPL 2015, Royal Challengers Bangalore picked him at his base price of Rs. 10 lakh. He was released by the franchise the next year.
In the auctions for IPL 2019, he was bought by Delhi Capitals for Rs. 20 lakh.
Even after getting a place in three IPL franchises, Jalaj has not been given the opportunity to play a match in the cash-rich league.
Awards & Achievements
- Jalaj Saxena won the prestigious Lala Amarnath award for the best all-rounder in Ranji Trophy by BCCI three times consecutively – in 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2017-18.
- In August 2019, Jalaj Saxena created history by becoming the first uncapped Indian to score 6000 first-class runs and pick 300 wickets.
- Film: Now You See Me (2013)
- Song: Soorma Anthem (from Soorma film released in 2018)
- Cricket Ground: Eden Gardens, Kolkata
- Jalaj Saxena is fondly called Babul by the people at his home.
- Jalaj considers playing his first match for India A cricket team as his favourite cricketing moment until now.
- Till the age of 17, Jalaj did not have any professional cricket coach to train him. When he realised he could make a career in cricket, he got himself enrolled at a cricket academy in Indore, Cricket Club of India (CCI). Recalling the time in an interview, Jalal said,
Initially, when I started playing cricket, it was me, my brother and my father. My father used to bowl at me, he used to take me different grounds. There was no actual coaching and actual coaches till the age of 17-18. Bhilai is a very small town and there was no proper coaching. So we used to play club cricket. My brother and I talked a lot about cricket, my father helped me a lot. No professional coaching.