Ravindra Jadeja is “good to go” for the all-important four-match Test series against Australia, starting from February 9 in Nagpur. The spin-bowling all-rounder, who hasn’t played international cricket since September 2022, is currently captaining Saurashtra in their 2022-23 Ranji Trophy seventh-round encounter against Tamil Nadu in Chennai and had quite an outing on day three.
The 34-year-old claimed seven wickets on day three and dismantled Tamil Nadu in the second innings. Overall, he bowled 41.1 overs across two innings and scalped eight wickets with his left-arm spin. In the second innings, Jadeja bowled an uninterrupted spell of 12 overs and had a solid impact in his first competitive match after five months.
"I am used to bowling long spells. Nothing new for me. I was enjoying... ball was turning. The pitch was assisting me. When we were batting, the odd ball was spinning, the odd ball was keeping low, so I was keen to bowl a long spell. Luckily I got wickets," he was quoted as saying by PTI.
The Indian team management would be extremely delighted with this news prior to the big Test series. Jadeja said he felt "no discomfort” and feels he is "almost there... it is just a matter of little bit of confidence. Luckily I bowled enough overs in the match, like almost 37 overs in the game (41.1 - 24 in the first innings and 17.1 in the second).
"So feeling very good, playing a game after a long time. Hopefully I am good to go now. It was tough on the first day but as the game progressed, I was feeling good. When you take a five-for in a first-class game it is always good."
In September 2022, Jadeja had to leave the Indian camp after their group-stage games in the Asia Cup due to a long-standing knee injury which forced him to undergo surgery for the issue.
Jadeja hadn’t played any first-class matches since the Edgbaston Test in July and even though he picks himself in the Indian squad for the Australia series, being the sole left-handed batter in the absence of Rishabh Pant, his fitness needs to be fully ascertained before taking a risk.
In the previous Border-Gavaskar Trophy in India, Jadeja was the biggest contributor to the Indian side and finished with 25 wickets and 127 runs to win the Player of the Series award. In the last five years, the left-hander is averaging over 50 with the bat to emerge as the biggest match-winner for the Indian side.
(Image credit: PTI)