Ravindra Jadeja will take the field in a competitive match for the first time in nearly five months when he leads Saurashtra against Tamil Nadu in the final group encounter of the Ranji Trophy here at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium starting on Tuesday.
The India all-rounder was sidelined from the game after suffering a knee injury (ligament tear) during the Asia Cup in August 2022 and underwent surgery, which has kept him out of action since then.
It will be an important test for the all-rounder as he hopes to use the next four days to assess his match fitness ahead of the four-match Test series against Australia next month.
“Feeling good to be back on the field. I am very excited and looking forward to this game. Hopefully, it will come good as a team and as an individual,” said Jadeja to reporters on Monday.
“My priority is to get on the field and be fit 100 per cent, so yeah, that is my top priority. Once I am 100 per cent fit, I will work on my skills, whether batting or bowling, but my top priority is my fitness,” he added.
The 34-year-old revealed he had been batting and bowling at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru for the last 20 days but added, “the match scenario is different, and I want one game before the Australia series. So that is why I am here.”
When asked if he has had any discomfort since he resumed training, the southpaw said, “Not really, but when you play competitive cricket after five months, you don’t feel confident initially, but as you progress, you get better.”
Even as he has become integral to India’s squad across all formats, Jadeja has recently had to deal with quite a few injury setbacks.
When asked how it affected him, the all-rounder was philosophical in saying, “Nobody wants to get injured at their peak, but still, you know it is part of the game, and you must keep that in mind. You have to be prepared as there is no guarantee that one can’t get injured while playing cricket.”
On Monday, Jadeja batted for more than twenty minutes, bowled for a similar amount of time, and said he would gradually increase his workload with the ball during the match depending on how his leg feels.