Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma could play a part in the Test series in Australia as the BCCI is now in talks with Cricket Australia (CA) as regards to a relaxation in the quarantine rules for the players. According to a BCCI official, if the rules are relaxed, then Rohit and Ishant might reach Australia in time to be available for India’s second and final tour game, against Australia ‘A’ in Sydney from December 11 to 13. As per the Australian government’s general Covid protocol, a 14-day quarantine period is necessary upon reaching Australia.
“BCCI is in talks with CA, which in turn is negotiating with the Australian government about a relaxation in the quarantine rules (for the two players). If the rules are relaxed, then both Rohit and Ishant could be available for the (second) tour game,” a BCCI official told The Indian Express.
Although the Australian government mandates a 14-day quarantine period for incoming travellers, there’s a provision for exemption which is listed in the ‘exemption category’. The Australian government’s health advisory, as put out on the government website, says: “The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) recognises some other travellers should be exempt from quarantine requirements as long as they take steps to mitigate risk. These travellers must apply for a quarantine exemption in line with state and territory requirements.”
The BCCI and CA understandably are trying to take the ‘exemption’ route for Rohit and Ishant, as the Australian cricket body negotiates with the Australian government. During the Indian Premier League (IPL) also, the BCCI successfully negotiated with the government authorities in Abu Dhabi to relax the quarantine period for the English and Australian cricketers who went to United Arab Emirates (UAE) after playing a limited-overs series in England.
Rohit had suffered a hamstring injury during the IPL, while a ribcage injury ruled Ishant out of the tournament. Both are doing their rehab at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) at the moment. The BCCI medical team is assessing the players and it is learnt that as of now, Rohit’s fitness level is “70 per cent”.
On Sunday, the Indian team head coach Ravi Shastri had spoken about how it was important for the two players to fly out to Australia in the next “three to four days”. Shastri ostensibly made his assessment with an eye to Rohit and Ishant proving their match fitness during India’s second tour game before the four-Test series starts in Adelaide from December 17.
Asked if it would be mandatory for Rohit and Ishant to prove their match fitness in a tour game to be eligible for selection in the Test series, the BCCI official said: “It’s sort of not mandatory. At the same time, for a Test series in Australia, ideally the players should have match practice before going into the Tests. It’s difficult to directly go into the Test series. Then again, this is a call to be taken by the selectors and the team management. The BCCI doesn’t interfere in those matters.”
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