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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 18 June 2024

India vs England, 3rd Test: If Ravindra Jadeja is fit for Rajkot, how to fit Kuldeep Yadav in

That need has gone a notch or two higher as spinner all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja appears to be back in the fray for a return to the XI for the coming game

Sayak Banerjee Rajkot Published 14.02.24, 06:08 AM
Yashasvi Jaiswal and Joe Root greet each other during the teams’ practice session at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Tuesday, ahead of the third Test.

Yashasvi Jaiswal and Joe Root greet each other during the teams’ practice session at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on Tuesday, ahead of the third Test. PTI

Just like in Visakhapatnam, Kuldeep Yadav worked pretty hard at nets ahead of the third Test against England beginning on Thursday. Not just with the ball in his hand, but with the bat as well at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium (SCA)’s practice facilities on Tuesday.

The left-arm chinaman bowler, whose supporting role to Jasprit Bumrah, particularly during the first innings of India’s series-levelling win in the previous Test, has been crucial, does understand the need to make some contribution with the bat too. That need has gone a notch or two higher as spinner all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja appears to be back in the fray for a return to the XI for the coming game.

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Jadeja, who missed the Visakhapatnam Test owing to a hamstring injury, batted and bowled for quite some time at nets during India’s practice session on Tuesday. He didn’t appear to be in too much discomfort either, especially when stepping out against the spinners.

“I think so,” Kuldeep said when asked if Jadeja was fit to play. “He’s doing his routine work. He did one session yesterday (Monday) and I think he is available for this game.”

If Jadeja is really fit to play, he’s an automatic choice for India, irrespective of the conditions. The toss-up thus could again be between Kuldeep and Axar Patel. Unless India opt to go in with just a lone fast bowler. Being a better batter, Axar enjoys an edge over Kuldeep.

Given the nature of the wicket here at the SCA Stadium, which is set to be officially named Niranjan Shah Cricket Stadium after the former BCCI secretary, it’s likely to be friendlier for batsmen, with spin coming into effect not before Day IV.

Kuldeep is well aware of the situation. “I’m not sure of my position because there’s still some time left for the game to begin. Honestly, I don’t think too much. I just look to enjoy my day and keep working hard,” he said.

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