MSK Prasad, the chairman of selectors, has clarified that Kedar Jadhav was not picked for the last three ODIs against West Indies because of his dubious fitness history. “We did not pick Kedar because of his history of fitness,” Prasad was quoted as saying by PTI. “There have been occasions earlier when he has come back fit and then broke down, a case in point being the Asia Cup last month.”
Jadhav’s hamstring – “compromised”, as his CSK coach Stephen Fleming described it during commentary – has long been a source of frustration. He injured it in his first IPL match and missed the entire tournament because of that, and then reinjured himself during the Asia Cup.
When the team was announced for the first two ODIs against West Indies, Prasad had said at the press conference that Jadhav was on course to come back after the first two matches. Fit-again, Jadhav was drafted into a Deodhar Trophy side in Delhi to play on the same day as the selectors were supposed to announce the squad. Jadhav batted, bowled and fielded, running twos without any apparent trouble, but he was left shocked when told moments after the match that he was not part of the XV that was announced during the game.
Jadhav’s reaction when informed he was not selected spoke a lot even though he was too shocked to react verbally. “I didn’t know [that I have not been selected],” Jadhav said in a press conference minutes after the match. “Obviously, I have to see [why].”
When asked if he was surprised because form and quality are not a concern with Jadhav, and he had proved his fitness at both the NCA and Kotla, Jadhav said: “Let’s see. I don’t know. You are the first one to tell me this [that I have not been picked]. I have to see why they have not picked me.”
Prasad clarified that they wanted Jadhav to play at least two games before they get him back, given his fitness history, but Jadhav’s team crashed out of the tournament and he won’t get that chance now. “Actually, we were thinking that if India A won today, then Kedar would have got another match, which would have given us a fair assessment of his match fitness,” Prasad said. “Maybe we could have added him as an additional player (in Indian team) before the fourth ODI as the Deodhar final is on Saturday. Players need to understand that there is a process that we follow while selecting the team.”
Jadhav said after the match that he had come back fully fit. “The rehab was good, I cleared all the fitness tests, I was cleared match fit, which is why I was playing here,” Jadhav said. Jadhav ran hard in his 25-ball 41, pinching three straight couples in the last over of the innings. He bowled and fielded too, although he did leave the field for a few minutes before coming back on. However, it is unlikely there was any assessment made on the day because the team was announced at around 3.30pm IST. Three selectors were at the Feroz Shah Kotla, watching the match, so it is unlikely the meeting happened today.
“They pick you only if you clear all the tests [at NCA] and you are completely fine,” Jadhav said.
In another context, Jadhav said there was no need to doubt yourself despite repeated injuries as long as the NCA has cleared you. “Only if you have followed all the rehab, all the fitness rules, all the exercises do they clear you at NCA. As long as they clear you, you shouldn’t be having any doubt when playing on the field. You should express yourself. That is what you are supposed to do. When I get clearance from NCA, I don’t hold myself back to play or to dive or to bowl.”