Dubai: When Sunil Gavaskar, the legendary Indian opening batsman sought some transparency about the nature of injury to Rohit Sharma which forced the national selectors to keep him out of the tour squad of Australia, he was merely echoing the sentiments of legion of Indian cricket fans.
Mumbai Indians captain Rohit missed his team’s last two matches in the ongoing Indian Premier League here with a hamstring injury, with Kieron Pollard leading in his absence. It was still quite a bolt from the blue when the selectors omitted him from both the Test and limited-overs squads and the BCCI said in its terse statement that the medical team would “continue to monitor the progress” without elaborating on the injury.
Barely a couple of hours later, the Mumbai Indians posted a video of their captain practising “in full flow” in Abu Dhabi, which was baffling - to say the list. “We are talking about the Test matches, which are a month and a half way,” Gavaskar told IPL broadcaster Star Sports after Monday’s match.
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“If he is practising in the nets for Mumbai Indians, then honestly I don’t know what kind of injury it is.
“I think a little bit of transparency, a little bit of openness about what actually is the problem with him will help everybody.” Efforts to get an update on the cricketer’s status with the franchise by Gulf News has gone unanswered so far.
The ambiguity over Rohit’s availability for the time being has created a number of speculations - with a suggestion that he should be back to full fitness by November 4 - in time for the IPL play-offs. Given the fact that the jumbo Indian squad will be leaving for Down Under only on November 14, the selectors could surely have named him as a provisional selection - instead of dropping his name altogether and also replacing him with KL Rahul as the vice-captain.
Rohit, now 33, had been holding the mantle of vice-captain to Virat Kohli for a number of years now and has risen to the occasion when he was asked to fill in - including leading the country to a Asia Cup triumph in the UAE in 2018. It’s quite likely that the selectors have now opted to look for an younger option in Rahul, who is in superlative form at the moment for Kings XI Punjab.
India and Australia will lock horns in a four-Test series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in December-January, which will be preceded by three T20 Internationals and as many ODIs.
India have named Prithvi Shaw, Rahul and Shubman Gill in the Test squad and one of them could partner Mayank Agarwal at the top of the batting order in case Rohit fails to recover in time. Agarwal’s own fitness is not beyond doubt but the BCCI was characteristically taciturn about it when naming the opener in all three squads.
The 29-year-old has missed Kings XI Punjab’s last two IPL matches and Gavaskar also criticised the lack of clarity around Agarwal’s suspected leg injury. “For an Indian cricket fan, they ought to know what happens to two of their key players,” the former India captain added.