Ishant Sharma celebrating a wicket with Rohit Sharma. (File)
Ishant Sharma celebrating a wicket with Rohit Sharma. (File)

Both Rohit Sharma (hamstring injury) and Ishant Sharma (ribcage injury) are at the NCA undergoing rehabilitation, hence are unlikely to take a flight to Australia in the next three-four days. Neither the National Cricket Academy (NCA) or BCCI as of now has communicated anything to the Indian team management about when the two are joining the squad. So according to the  Indian team head coach Ravi Shastri’s comment, both might miss the entire Test series.

Currently both Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma are at the NCA for recovering from their respective injuries. On Sunday, Ravi Shastri expressed concerned on the two players’ participation in the upcoming Test series unless they would be able to land in Australia in the next “three to four days”.

The first Test starts on December 17 in Adelaide and a 14-day quarantine period is mandatory upon reaching Australia. But since it will be a four-Test series and both Rohit and Ishant could be available for the Boxing Day Test onwards even if they don’t fly out in the next few days. It’s not clear if Shastri’s statement has put a question mark on their recovery; whether they can sustain the physical intensity of a Test series. Or it could be that the two need to pass their fitness test ahead of the Test series, during India’s second and final tour game, against Australia A in Sydney scheduled for December 11-13.

On Sunday Ravi Shastri told to ABC Sport, “If you need to play in the Test series or any red-ball cricket, you’ve got to be on the flight in the next three or four days. If you aren’t, then it’s going to be tough.”

The head coach of Indian cricket team spoke about both Rohit and Ishant being assessed by the NCA medical team. “But things could get difficult if he’s (Rohit) asked to wait for too long, (because) then you’re talking of the quarantine again, which might make it really tough for even him to come just in time for the Test series,” Shastri said further.

Rohit Sharma suffered a hamstring injury while playing for Mumbai Indians in IPL, hence the national selectors had to left Rohit out of the Australia tour.

After missing four matches for his franchise he finally played the remaining matches and was eventually included in the Test squad.

“The BCCI Medical Team has been monitoring Rohit Sharma’s fitness and has briefed All-India Senior Selection Committee on the same. In consultation with Mr Sharma, it has been decided to rest him for the ODIs and T20Is in Australia to regain full fitness and he has been included in India’s Test squad for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy,” BCCI said while updating the squad for the Australia tour.

“He (Rohit) was never going to play the white-ball series, they were just looking to see how long he needed the rest, because you can’t afford to be resting for too long,” the head coach said.

Ravi Shastri further emphasized that the BCCI and the team management knew all along that Rohit would miss the limited-overs leg of the tour, which starts with an ODI in Sydney on November 27.

Since Team India captain will be returning home after the first test, Rohit’s absence for the the remaining Test serieswould be a big blow for India. Though the team has a back-up opener in KL Rahul, but given Rohit’s quality, experience and a solid backfoot game, the Aussies might have a considerable upper hand if the batsman doesn’t make it.

With two centuries and a double century, Rohit has amassed 556 runs in his last five Tests after he started opening the innings. Two years ago, during India’s victorious tour of Australia, he had scored 106 runs in two Tests, but was yet to cement his place in the Test side then.

“The senior Indian fast bowler has been undergoing his rehab at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. Once he fully recovers and gains sufficient match fitness, he will be added to India’s Test squad.” the BCCI advisory said about Indian pacer Ishant Sharma.

Shastri further said ,“It’s (Ishant’s) a similar case to Rohit, You don’t really know how quickly he’ll be available to fly out. Like I said, if anyone has to play in the Test series, he has to be on the flight in the next four or five days. Otherwise, it’s very difficult.”

During Delhi Capitals’ training session on October 7, Ishant sustained a “left internal oblique muscle tear” which ruled him out of the IPL.

The senior-most bowler in the Indian team is on the brink of the 100-Test landmark (97 Tests), and had a pretty decent tour of Australia in 2018-19, returning with 11 wickets at 23.81 in three Tests.


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