A day after being selected for India’s 16-member squad for the first two Tests against South Africa, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja said he had played district-level matches to make a comeback to the national team.
The southpaw also used the matches as a launchpad for this year’s Ranji Trophy where he has reaped big rewards for Saurashtra. He claimed 24 wickets in two matches and scored 91 runs in the first game and 58 in the second. Due to his efforts, he was roped into the Test squad on Monday afternoon by the national selectors for the first two Tests against the Proteas, starting on November 5.
“Couple of months before the start of the season, after I played my last ODI in Bangladesh, I stayed away from cricket. I didn’t go anywhere near a ground or bat or ball or did anything related to cricket. I had decided that I have to start the Ranji season afresh,” Jadeja was quoted as saying by bcci.tv.
“When preparations started a month ahead of the season, I decided this is my time and I have to focus and work on my strengths and come back into the team. I played district-level matches. I thought that all the match practice that I can get ahead of the season is good. Whatever matches I played was an opportunity and challenge for me to perform since the upcoming series is in India.”
Jadeja added that he did not think much about getting back into the squad but had faith in his performances. “I did well at the (season’s) start itself. The timing was right. It was good thing that I could perform. Sometimes, it so happens that you have to wait for 5-6 months to prove yourself and get back into the side. So I would say that I was lucky that things fell into place for me at the start of the season itself,” he said.
“I hadn’t really thought much about getting selected for Tests. But given the way I had played and performed in the two Ranji Trophy matches, I felt my name would come up in one way or the other. It wasn’t in my hands if I will be selected or not. It was my job to perform in whatever opportunity I get.”
Asked if he had made any adjustments to his game to get selected, the 26-year-old said, “No, I haven’t changed much of anything. I believe that if I strengthen my natural game, develop my skills further, it would help me. I worked on ironing out the minor errors and that would only be my strong point.”
The middle-order batsman concluded by saying that sometimes a break is needed to clear one’s mind.
“If something is not going well and you keep thinking about the same thing over and over again it makes things even worse. You should leave it aside for a while so that you can clear your mind completely of all the issues and come back fresh,” said Jadeja, who has played 12 Tests.