India vs Australia: Rohit, Ishant doubtful for Test series

India opener Rohit Sharma and fast bowler Ishant Sharma are likely to gain full fitness by mid-December, and that could be too late to travel for the Tests.

Rohit Sharma had stayed back in the UAE to lead Mumbai Indians to its fifth IPL title despite a hamstring niggle.   -  FILE PHOTO/ PTI

Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma are not likely to travel to Australia for the Test series starting December 17.

After picking up injuries during the Indian Premier League in the United Arab Emirates, the duo have been at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru for rehabilitation.

While Ishant returned to India midway through the IPL after tearing an abdominal muscle, Rohit stayed back after a hamstring tear and even returned to lead Mumbai Indians to its fifth title despite being ruled out of the limited-overs series Down Under.

According to a BCCI insider, the duo is “all but ruled out” considering Ishant’s “lack of match practice” and Rohit’s “recovery slower than expected”. According to a member of India’s contingent in Australia, it will be “a miracle if both of them join the squad”.

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Sportstar understands that Ishant, who has resumed bowling under the watchful eyes of NCA head Rahul Dravid, bowling coach Paras Mhambrey along with the medical staff, will be ready to bowl at full tilt by mid-December. Similarly, Rohit’s injury “may heal” by then.

Even if they leave for Australia around that time, they have to serve the mandatory quarantine period of 14 days and then, be match-ready in the middle of the series.

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While Ishant has taken all due precaution, the manner in which Rohit’s injury rehab has been handled has posed serious questions on the BCCI’s injury management mechanism and a senior cricketer’s preference to IPL over international cricket.

It is understood that the medical report that was presented to the national selectors on October 26 had stated Rohit won’t be available for India selection “at least for three weeks”. Soon after the selectors didn’t consider him for the limited-overs’ leg, which begins on Friday, Rohit returned to the ground for Mumbai Indians on November 3, and played a match-winning knock in the final on November 10.

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The senior batsman, in an interview to PTI  earlier this week, said he returned to the field in consultation with the BCCI medical team.

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