Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra JadejaJustin George

Jadeja ready to test fitness in Ranji ahead of Australia series

Set for action for the first time since August last year, Jadeja, who was sidelined with a knee injury, on Monday said that he would put his body to test in the Ranji contest.

CHENNAI: Just a few words from premier India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja were enough to send social media into a frenzy.

“Vanakkam Chennai,” wrote Jadeja on Sunday after joining his Saurashtra teammates for the side’s seventh and final Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match against Tamil Nadu, which begins on Tuesday at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here.

With his two-word message on Twitter and Instagram, the 34-year-old confirmed his much-awaited comeback to competitive cricket, something his fans have been pining for months.

Set for action for the first time since August last year, Jadeja, who was sidelined with a knee injury, on Monday said that he would put his body to test in the Ranji contest.

The spin-bowling all-rounder will have one eye on the forthcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia at home, having been selected in the India squad for the first two Test matches.

“I am feeling good to be back on the field. I am very excited. I am looking forward to this game. Hopefully, we come good as a team and I [come good] as an individual as well,” Jadeja, who will lead Saurashtra in the absence of Jaydev Unadkat, told reporters.

“My first priority is to get on the field… be fit, be 100 per cent fit. Yeah, once I am fit… once I am 100 per cent fit, I will work on my skills, whether it is batting or bowling. My first priority is fitness,” emphasised Jadeja.

“I was at the NCA (National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru) for 20 days. I was doing batting and bowling, but match scenario is different. That is what I wanted to gain before the Australia series. That is why I am here. Hopefully, I fully recover and play the first Test.”

Asked if he is feeling any discomfort in his knee, where he suffered a ligament tear and subsequently underwent a surgery, Jadeja replied: “Not really. But, when you play competitive cricket after a period of five months, you do not feel confident. As you progress, you will get better and better.”

On overcoming a tough phase

Owing to the injury, Jadeja missed a number of national team assignments, including the marquee T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia.

Talking about how difficult it was to handle such a painful period, Jadeja said: “You feel bad, nobody wants to get injured at their peak. But still, it (injury) is part of the game. You have to keep that in mind and be prepared for it. You cannot do anything.” He added: “Injuries are part of sport. If you get injured, you start from scratch. It is the same thing in cricket.”

Jadeja could not have asked for a better venue and host city to make a comeback, so it is now time for the ‘Lion’ to roar at the ‘Den’ again.

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