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Journey to reach here was full of up and downs: Jadeja

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Last updated on 06 Feb 2023 | 04:10 AM
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Journey to reach here was full of up and downs: Jadeja

The all-rounder hasn’t played international cricket since September 2022 due to a long-standing knee injury

It’s been a while since we have seen Ravindra Jadeja in the Indian jersey. The spin-bowling all-rounder hasn’t played international cricket since September 2022 due to a long-standing knee injury but recently made a successful comeback for Saurashtra in the ongoing Ranji Trophy. 

The 34-year-old claimed eight wickets in the match and bowled 41.1 overs across two innings, including an uninterrupted spell of 12 overs in the second essay. He has now been given the green signal to feature in the all-important four-match Test series against Australia, starting in Nagpur on February 9.

“I am very excited and happy that after almost more than five months, I get to wear the Indian jersey again. I have been blessed that I was given a chance again and the journey to reach here was full of up and downs. Because if you are not playing cricket for 5 months, it becomes very frustrating and obviously, I was eagerly waiting to get fit as soon as possible so that I can go play for India,” Jadeja told BCCI.tv.

In September 2022, Jadeja had to leave the Indian camp after their group-stage games in the Asia Cup due to a knee injury which forced him to undergo surgery for the issue. 

“I had a problem with my knee and I had to get surgery sooner or later. But I had to take the decision whether I would have it before the World Cup or after. So the doctor also advised me to do it before the World Cup because even if I didn’t do the surgery, the chance of me playing the World Cup was anyway pretty less. So I made up my mind and went for the surgery.”

As a result, Jadeja had to miss the last year’s T20 World Cup in Australia. “But the period after that was pretty difficult because you have to continuously do rehab and training. You had thoughts in your head about your fitness When you saw the matches on TV, like I was watching the World Cup, I wished that I was there. These small things motivate you to speed up the recovery process.”

Talking about his day at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, Jadeja said: The physios and trainers at the NCA worked a lot on my knee. Even when the NCA was closed on Sundays, they would come and specially treat me. The 2 months after the injury was especially tough because I couldn’t go anywhere, I couldn’t walk properly. That was a pretty critical time and there my family and friends stood by my side. The NCA trainers also boosted my confidence.

“Whenever I said I was in pain, they (NCA trainers) used to tell me ‘Do it for the country, not for yourself’. So that motivated me and I was very happy that they were very serious about my knee and they wanted me to be fit as quickly as possible so that I can go back and play for the team.”

In Saurashtra’s last league-stage encounter, Jadeja claimed seven wickets in the second innings but could only manage scores of 15 and 25. “I felt a bit weird because I hadn’t been out in the sun for 5 months. I was doing indoor training as well as training in the gym so when I went into the middle I was thinking if my body can sustain.

“First day was very tough and we all know about Chennai’s heat. Then my body acclimatized to the situation and I felt good and thought that I can consider myself to be fit. Luckily that match went well and I got wickets as well so it gave me a lot of confidence.”

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.

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