After reports emerged on Tuesday that India’s star batsman Rohit Sharma and veteran pacer Ishant Sharma could miss the entire Test series in Australia, it was conveyed to the Board of Control for Cricket in India that the duo will require close to a month to be match fit, reported PTI.
That would mean that the duo will miss the first two Tests against Australia for certain, but are also doubtful for the remaining two.
Rohit and Ishant, who are undergoing rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, are already out of contention for the limited-overs leg of the series, which begins with the ODIs on Friday. They were in contention to join the Test squad for the series starting on December 17 but tough quarantine rules have made their availability uncertain.
“The NCA has given a report that both Rohit and Ishant will take at least another three to four weeks to get match fit,” a Board source told PTI on Tuesday.
Rohit, in an interview with PTI last week, had stated that his hamstring injury is fine and he is only working on strength and conditioning to be battle-ready. Ishant, on the other hand, is recovering from a side strain.
“Even if they travel now they will have ‘hard quarantine’ since they will travel by commercial flight. Hard quarantine means not being able to train during the 14 days like the whole team,” the source said. “So, now if only Cricket Australia can convince the government and allow them to train during quarantine.”
The Indian team, which landed here after the IPL earlier this month on a chartered flight, was allowed to train in quarantine as Australia battled a fresh wave of Covid-19 cases. National coach Ravi Shastri had said in an interview that the ‘soft quarantine’ was a clincher for the tour to go ahead.
The source also stated that the two cricketers’ chances of playing the Test series hinge on whether they are able to board a flight to Australia within this week.
“[Rohit] was never going to play the white-ball series, they were just looking to see how long he needed to rest, because you can’t afford to be resting for too long. 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,” Shastri had said on Sunday.
The four-Test series, after the day-night opener in Adelaide, will move to Melbourne (December 26 to 30), followed by games in Sydney (January 7 to 11) and Brisbane (January 15 to 19). India will be without skipper Virat Kohli after the first Test as he will return home to be there for the birth of his first child.
The visitors had won the 2018-’19 series 2-1, the country’s first ever triumph in Tests Down Under.
Update: In a report by ESPNCricinfo that says the two players are ruled out for the first two Tests, a BCCI official is said to have informed that “Rohit would have had a better chance of featuring in the Test series had he flown directly to Australia with the other squad members from the UAE.” It is also understoood that Shreyas Iyer, who is part of the limited-overs squad, could be asked to stay back as cover for Rohit, reported PTI
(With PTI inputs)