In another big blow to India’s batting plans for the third Test against England, the hosts lost KL Rahul after he failed to recover from his injury that kept him out of the second Test in Visakhapatnam. Rahul, whose availability for the last three Test matches of the series was subject to fitness, was on Monday ruled out as BCCI’s selection committee named Devdutt Padikkal, another Karnataka batter, as his replacement. But what is the fitness status of all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, whose selection for the Rajkot match was also subject to fitness?
Last week, selectors had named a 17-man squad for the final three Tests against England. Shreyas Iyer was dropped from the team, following a string of poor returns with the bat, but Jadeja and Rahul were added to the list, although their participation was subject to fitness clearance from BCCI’s medical team. Jadeja had incurred a hamstring injury during the first Test in Hyderabad, and Rahul complained of quadriceps pain after the match, subsequently leading to both the senior players getting ruled out of the second game in Visakhapatnam.
Rahul, however, failed to recover in time for the Rajkot Test as the batter will continue his rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru before returning for the final two Tests. “Rahul has reached 90 per cent of match fitness and is progressing well under the supervision of the BCCI Medical Team. He will continue his recovery process at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru to be completely match-fit for the fourth and fifth Test,” read the BCCI statement.
Is Ravindra Jadeja available for selection in 3rd Test against England?
BCCI’s press release, however, had no mention of Jadeja’s fitness status or his availability for selection in the third Test against England in Rajkot. Although, his name, when mentioned as part of the “updated squad”, did bear the asterisk, similar to that when the original squad was named for the last three Tests against Ben Stokes’ men, which signified “the participation is subject to fitness clearance from the BCCI medical team.”
Contrary to Rahul, who did not report in Rajkot for the third Test, a PTI report revealed that Jadeja joined the Indian squad, who had their first practice session for the match on Monday.
“KL Rahul hasn’t yet reported in Rajkot. Ravindra Jadeja, the local boy has linked up with the team. It was always a case of subject to fitness and BCCI medical team is still not confident that he is match fit,” a senior BCCI source told PTI on the condition of anonymity.
If Jadeja is indeed declared fit for selection, he will straightaway walk into the Indian playing XI, which will imply that one between all-rounder Axar Patel and leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav will have to sit out in the third Test.