Rohit Sharma may have led the Mumbai Indians to a record fifth Indian Premier League (IPL) title with a quickfire 68 in the final, but the flamboyant right-hander has been rested for the limited-overs leg of the Australia tour to "regain full fitness". And Alex Carey, Australia's white-ball wicketkeeper-batsman, has singled out skipper Virat Kohli and KL Rahul as the biggest threats for his side in Rohit's absence.
"India has a lot of good top-order players who can help fill Rohit's spot. KL Rahul had a very special IPL, we all know what Virat Kohli can do...," Carey said at a press interaction on Tuesday.
Rohit suffered a hamstring tear in his left leg on October 18 in the match against Kings XI Punjab, and will not join the India squad in Australia until the Test series. “I think we all understand how good a player Rohit is and unfortunately for Delhi Capitals; he had a really good outing the other night [IPL final]. So, he is in good form. You also have young talents like Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw, who too might get an opportunity. Although one of the best players in the format isn't going to play for India, we are fully aware of the challenge ahead of us. It will be a great series even though Rohit won't be part of it," Carey added.
Meanwhile, the first Test match, scheduled to be held at Adelaide Oval from December 17, has come under the scanner in the wake of the developing Covid-19 outbreak in South Australia. But Carey remained confident of the 2020-21 Australian season going ahead as planned.
"It's a concern, more so for everyone in South Australia. It is not ideal to have an outbreak at this stage, but we fully trust the advice that will be given to all the players by Cricket Australia's medical staff… No doubt, I feel the summer of cricket will continue very strongly, starting in Sydney at the SCG. In due course, we will find out more, but for the time being, I believe that the first Test will be played in Adelaide as planned. We, as players, will do everything we can to make sure everyone's safe," Carey said.
The Indian contingent - without Rohit and Ishant Sharma - reached Sydney from the UAE last week, and has gone into two weeks' quarantine. Carey has backed the players arriving from the IPL to be ready for the limited-overs series, even though they will not have completed their isolation until the eve of the opening ODI match in Sydney on November 27.
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“The players, who were part of the IPL, are quarantining along with the Indian players at a hotel in Sydney. The others, who were already here in Australia, aren’t allowed to join us until the first ODI. So, we’ve had a lot of Zoom meetings and caught up online, as a group. Look, we have played a fair bit of cricket as a unit now and the playing group in the hotel is preparing together. I honestly don’t think it will affect the way we start the series. It’s going to be even more exciting when we reunite with the full group… will give us a boost.”
(India's tour of Australia will be telecast live from 8 a.m. on November 27, on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six channels)
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