Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma

It is hard to find a player from national setting who can perfectly fill in Rohit Sharma’s ‘fit’ pair of shoes. The experience of playing 364 international matches and a special likening towards the Australian attack also makes Rohit a vital cog in the Indian set-up.

So it certainly begs a question: Shouldn’t his initial inclusion in the squads travelling to Australia make more sense? If an injured Mayank Agarwal can find a seat, there’s definitely place for a Rohit Sharma in the team bus. When have the selectors not had an option to drop a player after the ‘final’ review of a player’s fitness is unconvincing?

“India cannot go to the tour Down Under without him if he recovers in next 20 days,” Rohit Sharma’s coach Dinesh Lad opined while talking to The Free Press Journal.

“While I am sure whatever decision BCCI and the selectors have taken must be after a complete assessment, we still don’t have a comprehensive report on Rohit Sharma’s hamstring recovery,” he added.

Rohit Sharma practising in the nets for Mumbai Indians in the UAE
Rohit Sharma practising in the nets for Mumbai Indians in the UAE
Mumbai Indians

Featuring in 40 ODIs against Australia, the Hitman has scored 2208 runs at an impressive average of 61.33, including 8 hundreds and a double ton. Rohit is second only to Sachin Tendulkar (9) and equal to Virat Kohli (8) in terms of centuries scored against the five-time world champions.

In recent World Test Championship matches too, Rohit’s record speaks volume of his insatiable hunger for runs. He has batted in six innings so far, scoring 556 runs at an average of 92.66, including 3 centuries.

Lad’s suggestion is that a player of Rohit’s calibre could have been selected initially as he has already completed 13 of 21 days (as on Nov 1) that the medical team expected of him to recover from the hamstring injury.

“Selectors will have to reshuffle the current squad if Rohit Sharma comes back into the team,” an avoidable circumstance according to Lad.

Rohit Sharma's childhood coach Dinesh Lad
Rohit Sharma's childhood coach Dinesh Lad

Selecting a squad for three ODIs, three T20s and four Tests for Australia starting from November 27 was Sunil Joshi’s first major assignment since becoming Chief Selector in March, but omission of Rohit Sharma has made it anything but smooth.

What if Hitman is Fitman before India's tour of Australia begins?

India’s original Little Master Sunil Gavaskar also called for more transparency on the day the squads were announced.

“We are talking about the Test matches, which are a month and a half away,” Gavaskar told broadcaster Star Sports on October 26.

“And if he (Rohit) 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.”

Earlier, Mumbai Indians had announced Rohit Sharma had suffered left leg hamstring strain. “Rohit has made good progress over last four days, while the management is taking one day at a time monitoring the recovery process in consultancy with BCCI,” the franchise had said. Currently, Kieron Pollard is leading Mumbai Indians in the absence of Rohit Sharma.

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