Uncertainty around injury to Rohit raises doubts

Rohit Sharma
Photo credit: AFP
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Apart from skipper Virat Kohli, India’s opening batsman Rohit Sharma has been the big-ticket player for the Men in Blue over the past few years. India’s limited-overs vice-captain was on Monday left out of all three squads for the tour of Australia due to a hamstring injury, has raised question marks over his participation in the remainder of the Indian Premier League (IPL) as well.

India’s tour of Australia has always been considered as a marquee event with high-quality cricket on show. The large Indian diaspora down under makes it even better a spectacle every time India travels to Australia. For such a big tour, the fact that the selectors have overlooked Rohit Sharma raises two key questions. 1. Does he not fit in Virat Kohli-Ravi Shastri’s plans and 2. How severe is his injury that he suffered last week in the IPL?

Given Rohit Sharma’s immense ability at the top of the order and his astronomical numbers in international cricket, it is next to impossible that he would not fit in any Indian side. So the big question remains, why either the Mumbai Indians or the Indian selectors have lagged behind in issuing a fitness bulletin for such a key component of the national setup?

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The fact that Rohit Sharma may not be fit enough to even play the tests starting mid-December would automatically imply that he won’t be part of the IPL anymore. His fitness is being monitored but with quarantine and travel restrictions, it seems unlikely. So has he fallen prey to the grinds of IPL?  Or is it just a slight niggle, which would still enable him to recover in time and be on the plane bound for Australia?

The tour of Australia, which is to commence from November 27, comprises three T20 Internationals, as many ODIs and four Tests.

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Rohit Sharma in action before he was injured. Photo credit: IPL

Rohit Sharma and MI

Earlier during IPL, MI had announced Rohit Sharma had suffered a left leg hamstring strain. Post the injury, Rohit has missed two matches for the Mumbai Indians and there are mixed reports about his availability for the playoffs-starting on November 5. In the meanwhile, Rohit continues to be monitored by Mumbai Indians team physiotherapist Nitin Patel, who is also in charge with the Indian team.

The baffling part of the whole scenario is that even before his franchise has ruled him out of the IPL campaign-the BCCI selectors have left him out of the coveted Australian tour-still a month away-which has given way to many questioning the modus operandi of the parties involved.

In addition, it is common practice that all centrally contracted injured players are supposed to undergo rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) before being deemed fit enough for selection. As things stand, in Rohit’s absence, the in-form KL Rahul will be Virat Kohli’s deputy in the white-ball teams and is also back in the Test squad after a considerable period of time.

Rohit Sharma’s injury mystery

The mystery surrounding Rohit’s injury intensified later in the day following the announcement of the squads, Mumbai Indians announced on their social media pages that Rohit Sharma was back training again. This led to many calling in for more transparency on Rohit’s injury status. This has led to a growing notion that Rohit yet could be fit enough to lead Mumbai Indians’ title defence in the IPL playoffs, and thus, could be ready for the tour of Australia.

In fact, though neither Mumbai nor the BCCI have revealed the severity of Sharma’s injury, is a clear sign that the BCCI is not leaving anything for granted. The caution with which the BCCI medical team is understandable given that this is a second occurrence of the same injury this year for the opening batsman.

Although BCCI may choose to especially fly the players to Australia at a later date, the quarantine rules and travel restrictions could place a significant logistical overhead. The curious case of Rohit Sharma’s injury is getting more intriguing than his batting form in the IPL.

And as Indian team head coach Ravi Shastri and his support staff arrived in Dubai to prepare for the team’s two-month tour of Australia next month, the conundrum for the common Indian cricket fan is, ‘We deserve to know.’

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