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Board of Confusion in Cricket in India: How BCCI has mismanaged injured players

Be it Rohit Sharma’s hamstring injury or Ishant Sharma’s side strain, there have been more questions than answers over why the aforementioned players didn’t travel to Australia.

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Kolkata | Updated: November 28, 2020 12:41:34 pm
Rohit Sharma, Ishant SharmaIshant Sharma celebrating a wicket with Rohit Sharma. (File)

The BCCI’s apparent lack of clarity over injury management has led to confusion during India’s ongoing tour of Australia. Be it Rohit Sharma’s hamstring injury or Ishant Sharma’s side strain, which has now ruled the pacer out of the Test series, there have been more questions than answers over why the aforementioned players didn’t travel with the rest of the jumbo squad to do their rehabilitation in Australia, where a 14-day quarantine period is mandatory upon arrival. Pace bowler Navdeep Saini’s “back spasm”, too, makes a curious case.

Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma Rohit Sharma has scored 556 runs, including two centuries and a double century, in his last five Tests. (File)

At 11.48 pm on Thursday, a BCCI email provided an update on Rohit’s fitness, saying he would be assessed again on December 11 and that he returned home after the IPL to attend to his “ailing father”. However, captain Virat Kohli’s pre-match press conference in Sydney, that preceded the BCCI release by a few hours, had pinpointed the “confusion and lack of clarity”, making it clear that the Indian team management was in the dark about Rohit’s progress. Rohit’s interview to PTI about a week ago didn’t mention anything about his father’s illness either.

What BCCI said: “He (Rohit) is presently undergoing rehabilitation at the NCA. Mr Rohit Sharma’s next assessment will be conducted on December 11th following which the BCCI will have clarity on his participation in the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy (Test series starts on December 17) in Australia.

“Mr Rohit Sharma had to come back to Mumbai after the IPL to attend to his ailing father. His father is now recuperating well and that has allowed him to travel to the NCA and start his rehabilitation.”

What Kohli said: “Before the selection meeting, we got a mail that he (Rohit) is unavailable, that he has picked up an injury during the IPL. It said that the pros and cons of the injury were explained to him and he understood and he was unavailable.

“After that (national team selection meeting), he played in the IPL and we all thought he would be on that flight to Australia and we had no information on why he is not travelling with us. There has been no information; there has been lack of clarity. We have been playing the waiting game.”

What Rohit said: “Hamstring is feeling absolutely fine. Just started the process of getting it nice and strong,” the player was quoted as saying by PTI. He added: “… I thought if I get to work on my body for 25 days, I can probably go and play the Test matches. So, it was an easy decision for me and I don’t know why it became so complicated for others.”

What Sourav Ganguly said: “Rohit himself knows that he has got a long career ahead and it’s not just this IPL or next series for him,” the BCCI president was quoted as saying by PTI earlier this month.

Ishant Sharma

Ishant Sharma in action. (File)

Ishant had sustained a ribcage injury at the Delhi Capitals nets on October 7, which ruled him out of the IPL. But now that he has “recovered completely”, the senior pacer would have had the opportunity to test his match fitness in tour games – against Australia A from December 6 and December 11 respectively – if he were in Australia.

What BCCI said: “Ishant has recovered completely from his side strain injury sustained during IPL 2020 in the U.A.E. While he’s building up his workload in order to achieve Test match fitness, Mr Ishant Sharma has been ruled out of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.”

What Kohli said: “Someone like (Wriddhiman) Saha is doing his rehab and we are aware of his progress and he is on the right path to be available in time to play Test series… It would have given them (Rohit and Ishant) a chance to get themselves fit from the start of the Test series.

“It definitely would have been very helpful if they would have been here to do the rehab just like Saha has been doing to get fit.”

Navdeep Saini

Only a few after hours after the BCCI mail mentioned that the fast bowler has “complained of back spasm”, naming T Natarajan as a back-up in the ODI squad, Saini turned up at the SCG and bowled 10 overs on a pitch where 682 runs were scored in 100 overs of cricket.

What BCCI said: “The All-India Senior Selection Committee has added T Natarajan to India’s squad for the three-match ODI series against Australia starting Friday.

“Navdeep Saini complained of back spasm and Natarajan has been added as a back-up.”

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