India left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja could be a doubtful starter for the first Test against South Africa, which begins on Friday in Cape Town. Jadeja has been suffering from “viral illness” for the last two days, according to a BCCI release. He will be taken to hospital for treatment, and is expected to recover fully in the next 48 hours, which means the team management will probably only be able to decide on his availability on the morning of the match.
Shikhar Dhawan, meanwhile, has recovered from a minor ankle injury that he sustained before India’s departure for South Africa, and is available for selection.
If Jadeja is unable to play in Cape Town, India will most likely go in with the offspinner R Ashwin as the lone specialist spinner. Jadeja and Ashwin were expected to contest that role in the bowling attack, with captain Virat Kohli hinting before the tour that India would make that call based on the distribution of right- and left-hand batsmen in the opposition line-up. By this logic, Jadeja may have been the frontrunner for the lone spinner’s role since South Africa are likely to have only two left-handers in their top seven.