India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who is making a return to competitive cricket after close to six months, on Monday said his first
priority is to get “100 percent” match fit ahead of the four-Test series against Australia next month.
“I am feeling good to be back on the field. Very excited. Hopefully it will come good as a team and as an individual also,” Jadeja,
who will lead Saurashtra in their final Ranji Trophy Group B league match against Tamil Nadu, starting in Chennai on Tuesday, said.
“…See my first priority is to get on the field and be fit…100 per cent fit. Once I am 100 per cent fit, I will work more on my skills,
whether it is batting or bowling. Now, my first priority is fitness…”
Jadeja had to undergo a knee surgery in August and has been out of action for the past six months.
He said he had spent time at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru and added that he wanted game time before the Test series
against the visiting Australians.
“I was at the NCA for 20 days. I was doing batting and bowling. Match scenario is different. I wanted one game before the
Australia series, that's why I am here.”
He has been picked in the India squad for the first two Tests against Australia subject to fitness.
When asked if there was any discomfort now, Jadeja said: “Not really…after five months I am playing competitive cricket, so you
don't feel confident initially.
“But as you progress, then definitely you get better and better. Injury is part of any sport. If you get injured, you have to start from
scratch. The same thing in cricket.
“I was out of action for 5 months. I have to build my fitness. Once I get the confidence, I will definitely work on my skills and I will
get better day by day.”
He mentioned that it probably was his longest time out of the game. “I think so…because of surgery.”
“You feel bad. Nobody wants to get injured at your peak time. It is part of the game. You have to keep that in mind and be prepared
for it. You can't do anything. There is no guarantee that one won't get injured in cricket.
“It was a ligament tear. It is coming good. I am slowly getting confident.”
Jadeja emphasised that though he had been practising at the NCA, a match is a different ball game.
“As I said, a match is a different thing. Different ball game…I will try to give my 100 per cent. I will try to go slowly, slowly. Let's see how
my leg is feeling and then we will see.”
With star keeper-batter Rishabh Pant expected to be out of action for a considerable time after being involved in a road
mishap last month, the focus would be on the player to don the big gloves in the Tests against the Aussies and Jadeja gave both
Srikar Bharat and Ishan Kishan a thumbs up for the role.
Feeling good to be back on the field: Jadeja