Nagpur (Maharashtra) [India], January 31 (ANI): Star India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who made a return to competitive cricket in Saurashtra's Ranji Trophy match against Tamil Nadu, is all set to join the Indian Test squad this week ahead of the first Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test against Australia, which will start from February 9, as per ESPNCricinfo.
Playing for Saurashtra in their last group stage match last week in Chennai, Jadeja made a triumphant return, bowling 41.1 overs and taking a seven-for in the second innings. He also scored 15 and 25 with the bat. The match restored confidence in him about his fitness. After the match, which his side lost, Jadeja said that he was "good to go" for the Tests against Australia.
One of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) physios travelled with the all-rounder to keep a track of his fitness. Jadeja is back at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru to complete his final round of fitness tests. The last Test match Jadeja played was back in July 2022 against England, a rescheduled fifth Test from the series that took place in 2021.
During the Asia Cup in September, he experienced discomfort in his right knee and was ruled out of the tournament, in which India could not even reach the final. He also missed out on the ICC T20 World Cup later in October-November.
Jadeja's inclusion in the Test squad for the Bangladesh tour in December was subject to fitness and he was ruled out. An extension of his rehab meant that he missed the white-ball series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand too. But after getting a greenlight from NCA, he played in Ranji to determine his fitness for an all-important Border-Gavaskar Trophy title defence and get some game time before facing the Aussies, who have not won in India since 2004.
Middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer however continues to recover from his stiff back at the NCA and is yet to get his fitness clearance. He was ruled out of the ODI series against New Zealand because of this issue and will have to spend a little time at the academy before gaining a clearance. He was recently given an injection to help the swelling in his lower back area.
If he gets cleared, Shreyas will no doubt be the first-choice middle-order batter, averaging over 60 in last year's five Tests in which he also smashed 422 runs and four fifties. Other contenders include Suryakumar Yadav, India's T20I batting sensation, who is yet to feature in Tests for India. Shubman Gill could also feature in middle-order in case India opens with skipper Rohit and KL Rahul.
Iyer is optimistic about his quick recovery and is on the course of being declared fully fit, but BCCI wants to make sure that he is healed completely before he travels to Nagpur and joins India's preparatory camp for BGT, beginning on February 2. (ANI)