India head coach Rahul Dravid on Saturday refused to rule injured Ravindra Jadeja out of the 2022 T20 World Cup, saying that the mega event in Australia is still six or seven weeks away from now and he doesn't want to jump to any conclusions so early.
Dravid's comments come in the wake of reports that Jadeja, who has sustained a right knee injury, may undergo major surgery and will miss the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be played in October-November.
The coach said that he would like to wait and watch as the medical team comes up with its prognosis.
"Jadeja has injured his knee; he is obviously ruled out of the Asia Cup. He is under the care of the medical team, he is going to see the doctors, see the experts. The World Cup is still a fair bit away, and we don't want to jump to any conclusions and rule him out or rule him in. We'll see how it goes," Dravid said during a press conference ahead of India's Super 4 match against Pakistan.
"Injuries are a part of the sport; it is part of our job to try to manage them. A lot will depend on rehab and the severity of the injury. I don't want to rule him out or don't want to make too many comments until we have a much clearer picture and a better idea, especially because the World Cup is six or seven weeks away from now," he added.
The 33-year-old Jadeja played the first two games of the ongoing Asia Cup against Pakistan and Hong Kong before he was on Friday ruled out of the tournament.
He provides the team with much-needed balance -- along with Hardik Pandya, with his all-round abilities and played a crucial role in India's win over Pakistan.
Against Pakistan, Jadeja first gave away just 11 runs in the two overs he bowled, before being promoted to No. 4 in India's chase of 148, specifically since he was the only left-hand batter in India's top seven.
He scored a crucial 35 off 29 balls in a 52-run partnership with Hardik Pandya that put India on the brink of victory. Pandya then finished it off after Jadeja fell to Mohammad Nawaz in the first ball of the last over.
On the other hand, the left-handed batter didn't get an opportunity to bat against Hong Kong. During bowling, he dismissed top-scorer Babar Hayat and only gave away 15 runs in his four overs.
Apart from Jadeja, fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel are also missing the Asia Cup for India. As per Dravid, the current situation doesn't stop them from using this tournament as an opportunity to build and grow the team for the World Cup.
"There are a few key players missing from this team. But it's probably true of one or two other teams as well, who are probably missing one or two key players. That can happen, but it doesn't stop us from using this tournament as a really good opportunity to build and grow our team for the World Cup," the coach said.
"And of course, it gives us the opportunity, I guess, in a lot of ways to look at other players who are potentially vying for spots, who are in contention and are looking for one or two spots, see how they perform and to give other people some opportunities as well.”
“We know that once hopefully guys like Bumrah, Harshal and Jadeja are back then, as and when, we can respond to that and react to that," he added.
The former India captain also mentioned that the team management has always been trying to build a pool of players who can step in when key players get injured.
"But if for some reason unfortunately if they have to miss out then we've developed some other players, we've tried to build a back-up, we've tried to build a group and that's really been our endeavour right through," Dravid said.
"We're trying to build a bigger pool of players that can step in because as we've seen obviously with the kind of challenges, we've had with Covid as well, and with injuries you've got to have back-up, you've got to have people who can step in any given situation."
"When people miss out due to injuries, it gives us the chance to build that squad and grow that squad. Of course, we'd love to have our guys with experience and our best players playing all the time but it might not happen," he added.