In the aftermath of his team's defeat in the second Test, and a few days before the start of the third Test in Melbourne, India's head coach Ravi Shastri was asked as to why Ravindra Jadeja was not played in Perth. His response wasn't a direct one, but he mentioned that the bowling all-rounder was only '70-80 percent fit' and was carrying stiffness on his shoulder, hence he wasn't picked.
But his theory has been dismissed by India's chairman of selectors MSK Prasad. When quipped on whether an unfit Jadeja came with the Indian camp to Australia, he told media,
"On the eve of any selection meeting, the selection committee is given a fitness report of all the players. In that report, Jadeja was absolutely fit. So we picked him. After we picked him, he went and played Ranji Trophy also, he bowled 60 overs [64, against Railways]. So there is no question of him being unfit at the time of selection."
Indian skipper Virat Kohli, at the post-match press conference in Perth, had stated that the plan was always to go with a four-pace attack, and Jadeja was never in the fray to start. He also mentioned that even if Ravichandran Ashwin was fit, India would have gone with four fast bowlers, further blunting the theory of Shastri that Jadeja couldn't play because of an injury.
After the first two Tests, the four-match series is tied 1-1. India had won the first Test by 31 runs, but the hosts fought back in a brilliant fashion, recording a massive 143-run win in Perth.
For the third Test, which will begin on the Boxing Day in Melbourne, India announced three changes to their playing XI. KL Rahul and Murali Vijay, who opened in the first two Tests, managed to score a meager 97 runs between them in the eight innings. And the selectors decided to inject freshness up at the top by removing both of them, and confirming a Test debut for Mayank Agarwal .
Rahul has been directly swapped with Agarwal, while Vijay's place in the side has been taken by Rohit Sharma, who returns from injury. The 'Hitman' will slot in at No.6, meaning Hanuma Vihari will open the batting.
Keeping the previous game and Melbourne pitch in mind, Ravindra Jadeja has also been brought into the playing XI at the expense of Umesh Yadav, the least threatening of the four pacers in Perth.