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Jadeja ‘absolutely fit’ at time of selection – MSK Prasad

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

MSK Prasad, India chief selector, did little to clear up the confusion around the injury to Ravindra Jadeja, insisting that the all-rounder had been “absolutely fit” when the squad travelling to Australia had been selected.

Jadeja, who found a place in the playing XI for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne after missing out in Adelaide and Perth, will play as India’s front-line spinner. Until now, however, there have been mixed messages coming from the Indian camp about his fitness.

With Ravichandran Ashwin injured, India’s decision to go with an all-pace attack in Perth came in for much criticism, especially when the team lost by 146 runs and off-spinner Nathan Lyon finished with the match award. At that time, Virat Kohli, the captain, had defended the selection, insisting that even if Ashwin had been fit, he as a spinner would not have been an automatic selection.

Ahead of the third Test in Melbourne, however, Ravi Shastri offered a different reason for leaving Jadeja out, saying he hadn’t been fully fit and had a problematic shoulder. This despite the left-arm spinner being named in the 13-man squad for that Perth game and spending plenty of time on the field as a fielding substitute.

According to Shastri, and in a version since clarified in a statement from the BCCI, Jadeja felt stiffness in his shoulder upon landing in Australia and took an injection for it, which left him only “70-80%” fit. Shastri also revealed that the stiff shoulder had bothered him while in India itself, and he had taken an injection then too.

Prasad, though, insisted there were no concerns when Jadeja had been picked in the squad. “On the eve of any selection meeting, the selection committee is given a fitness report of all the players. In that report, Jadeja was absolutely fit. So we picked him. After we picked him, he went and played Ranji Trophy also, he bowled 60 overs. So there is no question of him being unfit at the time of selection,” he said.

He was however non-committal about whether he was aware of the two injections. “Yes, it is a process. Whenever a health issue comes up, we have a group in which it is being placed,” he said. “All that is looked after by the physio and they have very clearly given it in the statement.”

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