India suffer double blow as Rohit and Ishant ruled out


India will have to do without the services of Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma during the first two Tests against Australia, while they are doubtful for the remainder of the series as well.

Rohit suffered a hamstring tear during the IPL and is yet to near full fitness. The soonest he can leave for Australia will be the second week in December, after which he would still require two further weeks before a final decision on his selection can be made.

The earliest possible date he can arrive in Australia is December 8, at which point he will need to spend 14 days in quarantine, so the soonest he can join training is December 22. Had he travelled with the rest of the touring party, he might have been available sooner.

Ishant, meanwhile, is fit to bowl after recovering from an abdominal strain, also in the IPL, but needs four weeks of bowling to be ready to play in a Test match. Should he leave for Australia immediately, and spend 14 days in quarantine, he could be ready for the third Test in Sydney, starting on January 7.

This will mean neither is able to take part in the two warm-up games that precede the first Test in Adelaide, which begins on December 17.

Touring squad in training

The Indian touring squad has already begun training while in quarantine since they flew over to Australia, from a bio-bubble in the UAE to another secure facility Down Under.

Should Rohit be ruled out completely, the Indian selectors will likely call up Shreyas Iyer. Already a regular member of the white-ball teams, he averages a healthy 52.18 at First Class level but is yet to make his Test debut, although he did spend some time as back-up to Virat Kohli in the 2016-17 home series against the same opponents.

India’s bowling contingent is also in good shape despite Ishant’s absence: Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj are in the squad already while reserve bowlers Kartik Tyagi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Ishan Porel could also be considered.

The first Test, a day-night affair, begins on December 17 in Adelaide.