Rohit Sharma heads home, India fly to Aust

Rob Forsaith
·2-min read

India are set to arrive in Sydney without gun batsman Rohit Sharma, who is expected to continue his recovery from a hamstring injury at home after captaining Mumbai Indians to their fifth IPL title.

India opted against risking Sharma, who top scored with 68 in the IPL final, in the limited-overs leg of their tour of Australia.

India's team management reportedly decided it would be best if Sharma returned home rather than fly into Australia with the rest of the touring squad.

Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, who missed the IPL finals after he injured both his hamstrings, boarded the charter flight to Sydney.

The extent of Sharma's injury was not disclosed when he was added to India's Test squad on Monday but he has played three IPL games since suffering the setback.

Rohit Sharma and spearhead Ishant Sharma, who has remained in India as he recovers from an abdominal muscle tear and attempts to embark on what would be a fifth Test tour of Australia, both remain in doubt for the first Test that begins on December 17.

India have been granted quarantine exemptions by the NSW government, allowing them to train while in lockdown.

The Sharmas could potentially receive the same exemptions in coming weeks but they won't be able to interact with India's squad during the quarantine period.

The veteran players will most likely need to prove their fitness in India's final tour game, scheduled for December 11-13, if they are to play the first Test.

Rohit Sharma returns to India from the UAE to widespread praise for his leadership after yet another triumphant IPL campaign.

Former India batsman Gautam Gambhir suggested Sharma should replace Virat Kohli as India's white-ball captain.

"If Rohit Sharma doesn't become India's captain it's their loss," Gambhir told ESPNcricinfo.

"Rohit has won five IPL titles, he is the most successful captain in the history of the tournament."

Speculation regarding Rohit Sharma's fitness and his prospects of facing Australia this summer has bubbled away in recent weeks.

Some pundits were confused by the omission of the right-hander, who trails only Kohli on the ODI batting rankings, from the big multi-format touring party that was named a few weeks ago.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) cited injury as the reason.

However, Sharma was batting in the nets for Mumbai soon after the announcement.

"Rohit himself knows that he has got a long career ahead and it's not just this IPL or next series for him," BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said last week.

"I am sure he is mature enough to do what is best for him."