Ishant Sharma and Rohit Sharma have been reportedly ruled out of the first two Tests of the upcoming four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia slated to begin from December 17 in Adelaide.
ESPNcricinfo confirmed the development and stated the hopes of both the players to take part in the last two Tests hinges on “swift and decisive action” from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
To be in contention for the third Test which begins January 7 next year in Sydney, Ishant, who has regained bowling fitness, will have to board a plane almost immediately, the report further said.
“If there is a T20 game and he needs to just bowl four overs, Ishant is good to go immediately, but for him to get back to Test-match fitness, he needs four weeks of proper bowling still,” a BCCI source was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
Rohit, on the other hand, is currently at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) recovering a hamstring injury he suffered during the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
However, according to the report, the batsman is understood to be a while away from full fitness. He can be cleared travel only in the second week of December and will need two weeks of further rehabilitation after which a final assessment can be made.
According to a BCCI functionary, the 32-year-old would have had a better chance of featuring in the Test series had he flown directly to Australia with the other squad members after taking part in the IPL in the United Arab Emirates, the report further stated.
Even if Rohit flies out on the earliest possible date, which is December 8, he would have to undergo a two-week quarantine, which will keep him out of training until at least December 22, the report said.
Earlier, Team India head coach Ravi Shastri had on Sunday said that Rohit and Ishant will have to be on the flight to Australia in the “next four or five days” if they are to take part in the Test series.
Meanwhile, Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Nick Hockley confirmed on Tuesday said that the Adelaide Test between Australia and India will go on as per schedule.
“You are aware that there was a small, contained cluster of Covid cases last week. We have been working very closely with the South Australian government and at this stage we have been given assurances that it has been contained,” Hockley said in response to a question by IANS during an interaction with Indian media.
“The lockdown that they were under finished last Saturday. So at this stage all assistance go for the Adelaide Test. We are confident that it will go ahead as scheduled,” he added.
There had been doubts over the first Test — a pink-ball fixture — as coronavirus outbreak in South Australia led to suggestions that the December 17-21 match at the Adelaide Oval, the only Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy which Virat Kohli will play before returning to India for the birth of his child, be shifted to the latter half of the series.
Before the Test series, Australia and India are scheduled to play three ODIs and three T20Is beginning Friday.