For Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma to feature in India’s Test series against Australia, they will have to fly out to the country in less than a week, according to India coach Ravi Shastri. Both Rohit and Ishant are at the NCA in Bengaluru at present, undergoing strengthening and rehab as they work their as far back as full fitness after injuries sustained in IPL 2020.
“He is going through some tests at the NCA and they are obviously going to come to a decision [for] how long he needs to take a break,” Shastri said of Rohit, speaking to ABC Sport. “But things could get difficult whether he is asked to wait for too long, [because] then you’re talking of the quarantine again, which might make it in reality hard for even him to come just in time for the Test series.”
A 14-day quarantine is currently mandated in Australia because of Covid-19. The first Test, a day-night pink-ball affair at Adelaide, starts on December 17, but India are also slated to play a three-day warm-up match on December 11 before that. For Ishant and Rohit to be out of quarantine by December 10, they must land in Australia on November 26.
“He was once never going to play the white-ball series, they were just having a look to see how long he needed the rest, because you’ll be able to’t have enough money to be resting for too long,” Shastri said on Rohit not being a part of the limited-overs squads. “Whether you want to play in the Test series or any red-ball cricket, you have to be on the flight in the next three or four days. Whether you are not, then it is going to be hard.”
Rohit had also stated he didn’t opt for the white-ball leg of the Australia tour because of the packed schedule, but that his hamstring was once “feeling absolutely fine” at the NCA. Ishant, who has already begun bowling for longish stints off a full run-up, could also be slated to sign up for the Indian team whether his recovery is total.
“It is a similar case to Rohit,” Shastri said. “You do not in reality understand how quickly he will be to be had to fly out. Like I said, whether anyone has to play in the Test series, he needs to be on the flight in the next four or five days. Differently, it’s very difficult.”
“Whether you see where India have gone in the final five-six years, there is no doubt in absolutely anyone’s brain that he is the motive force and the man in the back of it .”
Ravi Shastri on Virat Kohli
The other challenge India should care for in the Tests is that Virat Kohli will only be to be had for the first game of the four-match series. He’ll then fly back for the birth of his first child, a decision that Shastri said was once the correct one. While admitting that the team would overlook its ‘driving force’, Shastri said it opened up an possibility for someone else too.
“I think it is the correct decision he is taking,” Shastri said. “These moments don’t come time and time again. He has the possibility, he is going back, and I think he will be happier for that.
“Whether you see where India have gone in the final five-six years, there is no doubt in absolutely anyone’s brain that he is the motive force and the man in the back of it (India’s success). So he obviously would be missed. But like I say, in adversity comes possibility. There are lot of young guys in the side and it’s an possibility for them.”
Taking a look ahead at the pink-ball Test match, Shastri acknowledged that Australia were substantially more experienced, having played seven day-night Tests and won every one. India have played only one game, against Bangladesh, and won that. “We had one good experience playing against Bangladesh, but obviously the quality – Australia, Bangladesh – chalk and cheese. It’s still a learning curve so far as our team is concerned,” Shastri said.
While in quarantine, the Indian team have still managed to practice within their bubble. The freedom to try this and not be confined to hotel rooms for a fortnight was once a very powerful factor in the back of the tour materialising, according to Shastri.
“I think that was once the clincher. Whether it was once tough quarantine, I would have found it tough for a full tour to go on,” he said. “That’s for certain. Once they said it was once soft quarantine and the boys could practice, that made things a lot easier.
“Luckily, numerous the boys played in the IPL – as would have numerous the Australians – in order that would have kick-started them over the past month and a half. So are far as match fitness goes, they’re pretty much there.”