Kuldeep says fit-again Jadeja available for third England Test

Published February 14, 2024
INDIAN captain Rohit Sharma attends a practice session at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Tuesday.—AFP
INDIAN captain Rohit Sharma attends a practice session at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Tuesday.—AFP

RAJKOT: India’s Ravindra Jadeja is making steady progress in training after a hamstring injury and the experienced all-rounder would be available for this week’s third Test against England in Rajkot, spinner Kuldeep Yadav said on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old Jadeja sustained the problem on the fourth day of the first Test in Hyderabad which England won and missed the second of the five-match series in Visakhapatnam where the hosts drew level at 1-1 last week.

Jadeja had been recalled to the Indian squad with selectors keeping an eye on his fitness before the third Test which begins on Thursday.

“He’s doing his routine. He did one session yesterday as well. I think he’s available,” Kuldeep told reporters.

Jadeja’s return could mean Kuldeep or Axar Patel make way, although there is a chance the trio could all feature as batsman KL Rahul is ruled out with a right quadriceps issue.

“I’m not sure about my position because there’s still two days to go for the match,” Kuldeep added. “If I get the opportunity I’ll be more than happy. I don’t think too much about whether I’m playing or not. I just enjoy my day and keep working hard.

“That’s my process. The combination matters a lot in a team game. It’s as simple as that.”

India will be without Virat Kohli for the rest of the series due to personal reasons while England are missing spin spearhead Jack Leach who sustained a knee injury.

The tourists are confident that Rehan Ahmed’s visa issues will be sorted out before the match after the young spinner ran into problems following the team’s return to India from a mid-series break in Abu Dhabi.

The leg-spinner was briefly stopped at Rajkot airport due to a “paperwork discrepancy.” Reports in the Indian media said the 19-year-old, who is of Pakistani heritage, had a single-entry visa but the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Tuesday the player obtained a temporary visa and the correct one would be issued soon.

“We were advised, on returning to India, that there was paperwork discrepancy with Rehan Ahmed’s visa,” a spokesperson for the ECB said. “The local authorities at Rajkot Airport were supportive, enabling Rehan entry on a temporary visa.

“The correct visa should be processed and issued in the coming days. He will continue to prepare with the rest of the squad ahead of the third Test.”

Ahmed’s fellow spinner Shoaib Bashir, who is of also of Pakistani heritage, was ruled out of the first Test in Hyderabad due to a visa delay that was eventually resolved.

Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2024

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