India in Australia: The pink ball challenge

Rohit Sharma passes fitness test, Virat skips warm-up game. Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar says it could have worked better for India if they didn’t start with the pink-ball test.

Our Bureau

Opener Rohit Sharma has been declared fit by the physios at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) following his hamstring during the Indian Premier League.

The batsman had reached the NCA in Bengaluru on November 19 and was set to undergo a fitness test on Friday. Speaking to ANI, sources in the know of developments said the batsman is fit for the rigours of international cricket. “He has passed the fitness test and the future course of action will be decided by the BCCI and the selection committee,” the source said.

The BCCI had informed of the decision to add Rohit to the squad for the Test series against Australia after initially excluding him from the tour due to the hamstring injury.

“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 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,” the BCCI said in a release on November 9.

While the Indian players who were part of the IPL final on November 10 moved into the bubble for the national team that very night in Dubai, Rohit had flown back to India and later headed to the NCA to complete his rehabilitation.

Speaking to the media on November 26, India skipper Virat Kohli had said the confusion over Rohit’s injury status is something that should have been avoided and there should have been clarity on the whole matter.

“Well, before we had the selection meeting in Dubai, we got a mail two days before which said that Rohit is unavailable for selection because of the injury he picked up during the IPL. It mentioned a two-week rest and rehab period, and it said that the pros and cons of the injury were explained to Rohit and he understood that.

“It was the information we got by mail but after that, he played in the IPL. We all thought that he would be on the flight to Australia which he wasn’t and we had no information whatsoever on the reason behind him not flying to Australia,” Kohli had said.

“After that, the only information we have received on mail is that he is at NCA and he will be further assessed on December 11. So from the time the selection meeting happened and the IPL ended and now when this mail came about his assessment, there has been lack of clarity, we have been playing the waiting game on this issue and this is not ideal at all,” he added.

Meanwhile, India decided to give rest to skipper Virat Kohli for the day-night warm-up game that got underway at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday. Kohli had already hinted after the last T20I against Australia that he might skip the game if he feels the need to stay fresh for the opening Test at the Adelaide Oval from December 17.

Ajinkya Rahane came out for the toss and it will be a further boost to his confidence to lead the team which almost wears the look of the playing XI for the opening Test with Kohli set to walk in and a few tweaks here and there. With Kohli returning back to India after the first Test, leading the team augurs well for Rahane as he will be in charge for the last 3 Test matches. “You know, I can’t play half and half. That’s me. I can’t just stand in slips and go through the motions. I need to wake up in the morning and see. If I feel great, I’ll definitely play. If not, I’ll speak to the physio and trainer and get a few days off and be fresh for the first Test,” Kohli had said after the final T20I making it clear that he wasn’t willing to commit.

Interestingly, former India skipper and batting legend Sachin Tendulkar had earlier this week told ANI how it could have worked better for India if they didn’t start with the pink-ball Test.

“See, whether or not you play the pink-ball Test as first match of the collection or the second or third or fourth, it might have been your first Test with the pink ball in Australia. It would have absolutely helped if the pink-ball Test was the third or fourth Test in this collection as a result of we’re enjoying Test cricket after a very long time,” he had pointed.

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