India’s opening batsman Rohit Sharma and pacer Ishant Sharma are likely to miss the four-match Test series against Australia starting 17 December. After suffering injuries during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 in Dubai, the two are currently undergoing rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru.
According to a report in the Indian Express, there has been no communication from the NCA or BCCI as to when the two are likely to join the squad.
Recently, India head coach Ravi Shastri had said that the two might miss the Border-Gavaskar Trophy if they didn’t leave for Australia within 3-4 days.
"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 said.
Considering the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement, it is clear that they would miss the first warm-up game against Australia A from 6-8 December, if they don't depart by Monday.
The selectors could turn to Shreyas Iyer, who is a part of India’s T20I and ODI squad for the Australia tour, as Rohit’s replacement. As far as Ishant's replacement is concerned, India have the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Umesh Yadav in their Test squad. If need be, the visitors can also pick from their reserve bowlers - Kartik Tyagi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Ishan Porel.
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In the absence of outdoor activities, Indian players had a gym session as they continued their preparations for the third Test starting in Sydney from 7 January.
After Sharma’s dismissal, India didn’t score a run for 32 balls. In hindsight, Sharma was right that if he didn’t take on the bowling then the scoring rate would stagnate. But somewhere there had to be better game awareness.
The Test series is currently locked 1-1 after India fought back for an eight-wicket triumph in the Melbourne Test following a humiliating loss in the opener in Adelaide.