Bengaluru, May 9: The selection panel is closely keeping a watch on Kedar Jadhav, the batsman-all-rounder who suffered a shoulder injury during the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) and was ruled out of the tournament just ahead of the playoffs.
The 34-year-old Jadhav hurt his shoulder while fielding for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in their final league game of the season against the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in Mohali. The team’s head coach, Stephen Fleming, confirmed later that he was out of the IPL and was being catered to for an early recovery before the impending World Cup. Yes, Jadhav’s injury is a concern because he is a key member of India’s World Cup-bound squad.
Kedar is considered a key batsman at No.6 who can also chip with his slow balling at crucial junctures. The Maharashtra batsman has played quite a few key innings under pressure for India down the order over the last few years. The cricketer though has had his second-worst IPL this year with an average of just 18 and one half-century but yet he is among the key members of the Virat Kohli-led squad that will kick off its campaign at the WC on June 5 against South Africa.
According to reports, chief selector MSK Prasad has said that Jadhav’s injury doesn’t look as serious as one would have thought but while the national team physiotherapist, Patrick Farhart, said that the player will recover on time. However, May 23 is the last date for making replacements to the team and suspension is on over who could replace Jadhav if he eventually fails the fitness test?
As cricket remains a game of uncertainties – of the turf too – things could open up again for either Ambati Rayudu or Rishabh Pant – in case Jadhav fails to make it. Both Rayudu and Pant were very much in the consideration till the selectors ignored them while picking the final 15 for the WC last month.
Vijay Shankar pipped Rayudu to be the No. 4 batsman while Pant lost the race to the experienced Dinesh Karthik who was considered a better wicket-keeper. Debates followed over the duo’s exclusion, especially that of Pant since the youngster has grown as a sensational batsman over the last several months. It will be interesting to see who the selectors pick as Jadhav’s replacement if the need arises. Both Rayudu and Pant are specialist batters and that could remain a concern.
The thing is that the players that India have kept as standbys are either batsmen or bowlers (the likes of Navdeep Saini, Ishant Sharma and Axar Patel) and not all-rounders and picking either of them would see the final playing XIs compromising on their skill sets.