Will Rohit Sharma travel to Australia for the upcoming four-match Test series? The answer is expected on Friday when the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, where Sharma is undergoing rehabilitation, will submit its final assessment to the BCCI on his fitness. If the NCA gives a positive feedback then the BCCI will need to figure how it can fly Sharma to Australia and integrate him with the Indian Test squad which is in a bio-secure bubble.
As per the Australian government regulations, Sharma will need to spend 14 days in quarantine before he can enter the team bubble. It could not be ascertained what the BCCI plans to do in case Sharma is declared fit by the NCA.
Last month, Sharma had been ruled out of the first two Test matches, with a hamstring injury he sustained in the IPL, after which he travelled to the NCA.
The Sharma episode has been full of intrigue ever since he injured his left hamstring during a league match while playing for Mumbai Indians in the IPL in September. The injury initially prompted the national selectors to omit Sharma from the Australia tour with the caveat that he would be “monitored”. On November 9, though, the BCCI provided an update, stating the selectors had ruled Sharma out of the limited-overs leg in order for him to “rest” and “regain full fitness” for the Tests series as they included him in the red-ball squad.
However, instead of travelling with the Indian contingent to Australia from the UAE (where the IPL was held), Sharma returned home to Mumbai after Mumbai had won the IPL on November 10, to attend his dad who was “ailing.”
The reason for Sharma returning to India was revealed by the BCCI in a media release on November 26, a day after India captain Virat Kohli claimed he did not know the reasons why Sharma, along with Ishant Sharma, had not done their rehab in Australia, which could have put them both in a position to play the first Test.
Sharma’s last Test was the day-night match against Bangladesh last year. He missed the two-Test series in New Zealand after picking up a calf injury in the limited-overs segment of that tour.