Why Jadeja unavailable for selection and Ashwin gets surprise entry in India XI? | Cricket


India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was ruled out of the first Test against South Africa at the Supersport Park in Centurion due to back spasms. BCCI said Jadeja complained of pain in his upper back on Tuesday morning and the team management decided not to risk him for the series-opening Boxing Day Test match. “Ravindra Jadeja complained of upper back spasms on the morning of the match. He was not available for selection for the first Test,” BCCI said.

R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja during a practice session ahead of the first Test vs South Africa(PTI)
R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja during a practice session ahead of the first Test vs South Africa(PTI)

BCCI did not share much detail about the extent of Jadeja’s injury but it does not seem serious at the moment. The all-rounder was seen having an extended session on Sunday, where he honed his batting and bowling skills and did not seem to be in any sort of discomfort even while walking back to the changing room.

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Jadeja’s injury meant Ravichandran Ashwin got a surprise entry into India’s playing XI as the lone spin-bowling all-rounder. Ashwin, despite being the No.1-ranked Test bowler, was not India’s preferred spinner in this Test match mainly because of Jadeja’s superior batting abilities.

Ashwin, who does not have the best of records in South Africa – 10 wickets in 7 Tests at an average of 50 – would look to prove the doubters wrong and take a few more steps towards the magical 500 mark.

“Ashwin is playing in place of Jadeja – he had a back…neck spasm in the morning. Ashwin will come in handy. We all know what a quality bowler he is,” India captain Rohit Sharma said at the toss, which was won by South Africa captain Temba Bavuma. He opted to bowl first after wet patches on the outfield delayed the start by half an hour.

Rohit said he was unsure about his decision and was glad that he didn’t win the toss. “Honestly, I was not too sure. In times like this, it’s better to lose the toss. We are aware of the conditions, the last time around I wasn’t here but we had a good result for ourselves. We put runs on the board and the bowlers did the job for us. There is some grass on the pitch and overhead conditions…but guys are accustomed to handling the situation.”

Prasidh Krishna makes his debut

India went in with a four-pronged pace attack to put an end to their never-ending wait of winning a Test series in South Africa. Prasidh Krishna was handed his Test cap while Shardul Thakur was picked as the seam-bowling all-rounder.

“Prasidh is a promising prospect, but we have to be realistic that this is his first Test match. He hasn’t had a lot of first-class cricket to fall back on because of a number of reasons. But I’m hoping he has a good game and enjoys himself. It’s such a lovely moment when we give out a new cap to someone,” India head coach Dravid said before the start of the match.

But the bulk of the job will have to be done Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj. Bumrah is playing his first Test after a gap of more than a year.

As far as the South African team was concerned, there were two debutants. Lungi Ngidi could not recover in time and was given a break from this Test. This opened the doors for exciting young left-arm pacer Nandre Burger, who made quite an impression during the white-ball matches against India.

The other debutant in the side was better David Bedingham.

South Africa XI: 1 Dean Elgar, 2 Aiden Markram, 3 Tony de Zorzi, 4 Temba Bavuma (capt), 5 Keegan Petersen, 6 David Bedingham, 7 Kyle Verreynne (wk), 8 Marco Jansen, 9 Gerald Coetzee, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Nandre Burger

India XI: 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Yashasvi Jaiswal, 3 Shubman Gill, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 Shreyas Iyer, 6 KL Rahul (wk), 7 R Ashwin, 8 Shardul Thakur, 9 Jasprit Bumrah, 10 Mohammed Siraj, 11 Prasidh Krishna

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