Ace Indian all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja will join Saurashtra’s squad in Chennai on Sunday, January 22, ahead of their final league match of the Ranji Trophy against Tamil Nadu. Saurashtra coach Niraj Odedra confirmed the same and believes his return is a massive morale boost for the side.
Jadeja hasn’t played any form of cricket since sustaining a knee injury in the Asia Cup 2022 in the UAE. The spin-bowling all-rounder made it to India’s 17-man squad for the first two Tests against Australia, beginning in Nagpur on February 9.
Speaking to Sportstar, Odedra said the Saurashtra players have welcomed the 34-year-old back into the squad and that the all-rounder is equally excited to play in the Ranji Trophy. The veteran cricketer is all set to play his first Ranji game since November 2018.
“His training and workload will be as per the National Cricket Academy (NCA) protocols,” he said. “In fact, I had sent Jaddu a WhatsApp text saying that the boys are really excited to have him back. He immediately wrote back saying he is looking forward to catching up with the team.
“It’s been a while since he played Ranji Trophy for Saurashtra. A player of that calibre joining the team is a huge morale boost as well.”
The absence of Rishabh Pant from the Test series against Australia will further amplify Jadeja’s criticality for the marquee contest. He has an incredible Test record, picking up 242 wickets in 60 Tests at an average of 24.71 and scoring 2523 runs at 36.57 with three tons.
Earlier, a BCCI official said the board wants him to play first-class cricket to prove his fitness ahead of the Test series.
Ravindra Jadeja was the highest wicket-taker in the 2016-17 Test series against Australia
The veteran cricketer played an integral role in India’s Test series victory over a tough Aussie side when they toured in 2016-17, picking up 25 wickets in four matches at 18.56. He also managed 127 runs in six innings at an average of 25.40, including two fifties.
Australia‘s 18-man squad will leave for India on January 31 as they hope to win their first Test series on Indian soil since 2004.