In what comes as a major body-blow to Team India’s fortunes in the upcoming Test series against Australia, the veteran fast bowler, Ishant Sharma, and opener Rohit Sharma have been ruled out of the opening two matches of the four-match series, and their hopes of making it to the last two matches in Sydney and Brisbane now rests on the decisive course of action taken by the ICC, according to a report in ESPNCricinfo.
In order to be in contention for the New Year Test, Ishant Sharma, who has regained peak fitness, but as Ravi Shastri recently alluded to needing intense practice, will have to board the flight to Australia almost immediately, since the 14-day quarantine requirement Down Under means that he can only start training only after completing the isolation period. The third Test of the series starts at the SCG on January 07.
As far as Rohit Sharma is concerned, he can only be cleared for travel by the National Cricket Academy on December 08 by the earliest, and although he does not the same amount of training as Ishant Sharma, the 14-day quarantine rule means that even if he reaches Australia by 8th, he can only start training after December 22nd. By then the first Test will be over and the second will be just four days away.
“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 said as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
According to recent reports, the team-management and selectors are looking to add Shreyas Iyer to the squad. A regular member of the white-ball set-up, Iyer has 4592 First-Class runs to his name in 54 games at an average of 52.18. He has 12 centuries and 23 half-centuries to his name and the DC skipper has been a part of the red-ball squad in the past. He was called in as a cover for the injured Virat Kohli during the 2017 home series against Australia,
As far as fast bowling is concerned, India has enough options in their squad in the form of Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav besides having reserves like Kartik Tygai, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, and Ishan Porel, to pick from.
The first Test of the four-match series will take place at the Adelaide Oval from December 17.