One of India’s major concerns heading into the third Test against England in Rajkot is the availability of Ravindra Jadeja. The India all-rounder was named in the 17-man squad for the last three Tests against England, but his participation is subject to getting a clearance from BCCI’s medical team. While there has been no official communication on his selection in the India XI, spinner Kuldeep Yadav seemed to have let slip India’s plan on Jadeja for the third Test.
Speaking to the media in the pre-match presser on Tuesday before the third game of the contest at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Kuldeep indicated that Jadeja will be part of the Indian lineup on Thursday to take on England. He said: “I think so. Ravindra Jadeja did his routine and had a session yesterday too. He is available.”
Jadeja’s return to the India XI will be crucial given that the hosts won’t have either Virat Kohli, who remains unavailable citing personal reasons, and KL Rahul, who is yet to recover from the quadriceps pain he incurred after the first Test. Since 2016, no other all-rounder has averaged over 40 with the bat and under 25 with the ball across 53 matches in Test cricket.
The England team, too, might have got the indication that Jadeja will play the third Test as a video of the net session on Tuesday, by India Today, revealed that the visitors roped in a few local left-arm spinners so that the batters could gear up to face the veteran cricketer, who will be playing at home.
Jadeja’s inclusion would also mean that one between Kuldeep and fellow left-arm all-rounder Axar Patel might have to miss out on the Rajkot game. Based on the performance in the second Test in Visakhapatnam, the chinaman is likely to retain his spot after he picked up four wickets in the match in India’s 106-run win, which included a crucial three-fer in the first innings.
The Rajkot Test will begin on February 15 where India will aim to claim a lead for the first time in this five-match series against England.