New Delhi: Star India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who has been sidelined due to injuries since the Asia Cup last September, will mark a return to first-class cricket. He will play for Saurashtra in the final round of the Ranji Trophy against Tamil Nadu in Chennai set to commence on January 24. Jadeja missed out on the T20 World Cup last year.

The 34-year-old, who is currently doing rehab at the National Cricket Academy, has been picked in a 17-member squad for the first two Tests in the highly-anticipated four-match series against Australia slated to begin in Nagpur from February 9.

However, his availability is subject to fitness as a call on Jadeja is likely to be taken during the course of the four-day game.

“It will be good if he plays for Saurashtra. Probably he will, but I don’t have any further details,” Saurashtra Cricket Association president Jaydev Shah told PTI.

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Jadeja has not played any competitive cricket since the T20I against Hong Kong in the Asia Cup on August 31 and his previous first-class match was the rescheduled one-off Test at Edgbaston against England last July.

Jadeja reportedly has started to bowl and bat from earlier this week as he’s winding up his rehab at the NCA. The left-handed batter is seen as a vital cog in India’s line-up, especially in absence of Rishabh Pant at No 5 or 6 in the middle-order.

His leftarm spin could also come handy alongwith ace offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin in the four-match series that will determine India’s fate to make a successive World Test Championship final appearance.

In their 2016-17 series against Australia, Jadeja had played a key role to be adjudged the Player-of-the-Series with 25 wickets and 127 runs as India came from behind to seal a memorable 2-1 win.

Jadeja has 82 wickets at 21.46 including three five-fors, while with the bat he has amassed 898 runs (average 52.82) along with two centuries and seven fifties, in 19 Tests since 2017.

(With Inputs From PTI)





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