The fitness controversy has once again raised its ugly head on the Indian tour to Australia, this time pertaining to left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja.
Claims and counter claims galore later, Jadeja has been picked for the ongoing Third Test at Melbourne.
But it makes sorry reading when the coach Ravi Shastri says that Jadeja was unfit before the tour started itself while captain Virat Kohli names him in the 13 for the Second Test at Perth and then promptly drops him.
Kohli’s comments are in direct contrast to what Shastri said. He clarified that he preferred a four-man pace attack in Perth and wouldn’t have picked up Jadeja anyway.
To add fuel to the fire, chief selector MSK Prasad has said that Jadeja was fit when he was sent on the tour. He referred to Jadeja’s performance in the last Ranji Trophy match before the tour where he bowled 64 overs in all.
So who is speaking the truth? And why is India’s think-tank acting cagey about injuries?
During India’s last tour to England, spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was at the centre of a storm when he was played on a spinner’s track while visibly carrying an injury.
Both captain and coach claimed he was fit. Ashwin failed as expected and later it was revealed he was indeed injured. But India’s tour selectors including Shastri had stated before the match that Ashwin was fit only to retract it later.
A similar situation has risen again and it will only be clear whether Jadeja was fit when the Test gets over. This controversy is simply uncalled for. It is a straightforward thing – a player is fit or unfit.
On the heels of this controversy, there are the so-called critics and former players who are now questioning Ashwin’s injury problems over the last three tours.
Stop writing such rubbish. Nobody wants to get injured deliberately. It can happen to anyone. Players have missed years through injury.
India’s first choice wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha has not played cricket for a year due to injury. He did not deliberately get himself injured to enjoy a holiday.
But coming back to the Jadeja issue, the opposing statements suggest that the tour managers and the selectors are not on the same page. It just takes one phone call to discuss and thrash out the issue instead of talking to the press prematurely.
All these clarifications and afterthoughts are giving Indian cricket a bad name and demoralising the players in the bargain.
Either stay quiet or clarify only when required and that too in unison.
#All views expressed in this column are the authors and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.