Ravindra Jadeja has taken 24 wickets at an outstanding average of 8.25, and has also scored 149 runs at 74.50 in the Ranji Trophy 2015-16 so far © Getty Images
Ravindra Jadeja has taken 24 wickets at an outstanding average of 8.25, and has also scored 149 runs at 74.50 in the Ranji Trophy 2015-16 so far © Getty Images

India have announced their Test squad for the remaining One-Day Internationals (ODI) against South Africa, as well as the first of the two Tests that are to follow. The biggest news however, is that of the return of Saurashtra all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja to the Test side for the first time since India’s tour of England last year. Amit Banerjee lauds the selection panel for making the right move by picking the all-rounder, and says that the Test series on home conditions will be a litmus test for Jadeja to seal his spot in the national side for the longer run.

Following the poor run that India has put up in their home series against South Africa so far, it was natural for fans to expect a change or two in the remainder of the five-match ODI series, as well as the four Tests that are to follow thereafter. There have a few non-performing individuals in the side who have had some role in their team’s miseries against the Proteas so far. On the other hand, the ongoing Ranji Trophy 2015-16 has seen several players, struggling for a place in the national side; excel either with bat or ball or both. READ: Ravindra Jadeja returns to Indian team for Test series vs South Africa

The 2015-16 edition of India’s premier domestic tournament has seen a few success stories so far, prominent among which is the tremendous run of form displayed by Ravindra Jadeja. The all-rounder, who has had prefixes such as “Sri Sri” and “Sir” assigned to him by fans in jest in the past, has been an absolute phenomenon in the ongoing Ranji Trophy. In the two games that Saurashtra has played so far in the tournament, Jadeja has taken 24 wickets at an outstanding average of 8.25, and has also scored 149 runs at 74.50. READ: Ravindra Jadeja picks up 13 wickets to help Saurashtra thrash Jharkhand

Jadeja, became the first Indian cricketer to score three First-Class (FC) triple centuries in 2012, may have received the shock of a lifetime when he was dropped from the squad ahead of the home series against South Africa. It may have shattered Jadeja’s perception of enjoying a place in the national side due to his rapport with his Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and India limited-overs skipper MS Dhoni. His exit may have only helped his case by inspiring him to propel himself in the domestic circuit, and earn his way back into the Indian squad. With nothing left to prove in the domestic scene as of now, or so some would feel, the left-arm spinner now needs to focus at the tougher tests that await him.

The Indian camp received a major blow during the first ODI when Ravichandran Ashwin was injured while attempting a dive, and was subsequently ruled out of the remainder of the series due to a side strain. While members of the team, as well as fans pray for his return to the side, Jadeja might have to take up the spin responsibilities along with Amit Mishra in the Tests, should the fans’ prayers not be answered. That’s when Jadeja needs to take the bull by the horns, and carry his domestic performances onto the bigger stage where it matters the most. This could be Jadeja’s chance to earn the title of ‘Sir’ from the fans, but as a mark of respect.

(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, travelling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)