The curious case of Jadeja’s absence

Ever since Ravi Shastri’s return as India head coach, Jadeja hasn’t featured in India's blues. It was understandable that Jadeja was given a break from the limited overs’ leg of the Sri Lanka tour. However, when he was omitted for the ODI series against Australia, chief selector M.S.K. Prasad said he was “rested”. However, moments later, Jadeja referred to it as a “setback” on social media.

Jadeja's absence from the squad, let alone team, continues to baffle since the Indian team under Virat Kohli has followed a trend of an injured or rested player regaining his place in the starting XI as soon as he is available for selection.   -  AP

Ashish Nehra, Shikhar Dhawan and Dinesh Karthik’s return to India's squad for the Twenty20 series against Australia has stolen headlines. However, the absence of Ravindra Jadeja remains a big talking point, especially considering the fact that he has been the torch-bearer of India's spin bowling unit in limited overs’ formats for the last couple of years.

Ever since Ravi Shastri’s return as India head coach, Jadeja hasn’t featured in India's blues. It was understandable that Jadeja was given a break from the limited overs’ leg of the Sri Lanka tour. However, when he was omitted for the ODI series against Australia, chief selector M.S.K. Prasad said he was “rested”. However, moments later, Jadeja referred to it as a “setback” on social media.

READ: Nehra, Shikhar in T20I squad; Rahane misses

That Jadeja had been dropped was underlined when the “rested” spinner was brought in as back-up ahead of the first ODI following an injury scare to Axar Patel. But once Patel recovered, Jadeja was released from the squad after the third match in Indore.

With the spin troika of Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav putting in an impressive performance, it was clear that Jadeja would continue to be sidelined even for the T20s. No wonder then that Saurashtra had provisionally selected him for its Ranji Trophy opener, which clashes with the T20 series, well before the squad was officially announced late on Sunday night.

Jadeja's absence from the squad, let alone team, continues to baffle since the Indian team under Virat Kohli has followed a trend of an injured or rested player regaining his place in the starting XI as soon as he is available for selection. That the same rule hasn't been applied to Jadeja indicates that he has lost his place in the side for reasons other than workload management.

Raina fails fitness test

Meanwhile, Suresh Raina, the middle-order batsman who was featured for India in the Twenty20 series against England in January, failed to clear the fitness test. Sportstar understands that Raina, along with promising all-rounder Washington Sundar, were called for a fitness test at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru on Sunday.

And the left-handed batsman who has over the last couple of years lost his place in India's squad across formats fell short of the recent benchmarks set by the BCCI trainers. It was the second time in as many months that Raina, once considered the fittest member of India's squad, was found wanting on the fitness front. Had he cleared the test, Karthik would have had to wait for his chance.