The Rohit Sharma injury situation has had more ebbs and flows and twists than an Abbas-Mustan or a Mission Impossible film. 

This was one of a kind situation where the team’s captain complained of lack of clarity on team’s one of the best players’ injury, where the communication was so haphazard that he was playing in the IPL for Mumbai Indians, played a match-winning knock for his side in the Final but couldn’t even travel with the side and had to go to NCA in Bengaluru to recover from his injury. However, that was cleared much later by the BCCI stating that Rohit had returned to India to attend to his ailing father.

But, along with Virat many others felt that Rohit had better chance to feature in the matches had he left with the whole squad on November 11 itself.

Fit, fitter and the fittest

So what has gone is gone. After Ishant Sharma was ruled out of the whole series, fingers were crossed for Rohit’s availability and when he was cleared by the NCA on December 11, the hopes of seeing him on the Australian shores playing for India, started gaining steam.

Now in Virat’s absence and with him finishing his quarantine, he is still an important cog in the wheel of India’s batting even if India won the Boxing Day Test without either of them.

However, the question on his availability and selection still lingers as after being in 14 days of quarantine, his physical fitness to be ready for a five-day game will be assessed, once he joins the team.

As even the coach Ravi Shastri after the MCG game said that call on his selection will be taken how he feels physically after being isolated for two weeks. “About Rohit – he joins the team tomorrow. So we’ll have a chat with him to see where he’s placed physically because he’s been in quarantine for the last couple weeks. We’ve also got to see how he feels before we take the call,” Shastri had said on Tuesday.

Who will be the sacrificial lamb?

Whether Rohit will be drafted straightaway into the Playing XI still remains a big mystery.

If Rohit does make it to the playing XI, who will be replaced? No one wants to change a winning combination. ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ comes to mind every time there are talks of changes in a line-up after a team has won a game.

However, for India that might not be the case, since they might have a forced change. Pacer Umesh Yadav, who suffered a calf muscle injury on Day 3 couldn’t bowl any more overs subsequently and is in doubt for the third Test in Sydney.

Apart from Umesh, another person who has suddenly become a cause of concern is Mayank Agarwal. Agarwal has scoredjust 31 runs in four innings in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy and looks woefully out of touch against the accuracy of tall Australian fast bowlers.

Top-order or Middle? Mayank or Vihari?

India’s first-choice opener in Tests, Mayank’s place might be in danger given the last time Rohit donned whites for India, he smashed three ceneturies in four innings he played at the opener’s position, including a double-hundred, albeit it was at home against South Africa last year.

Rohit’s numbers in overseas Tests have not been good and considering that, the team management might give Mayank another chance and slot Rohit in the middle-order in place of Hanuma Vihari, given Rohit’s problems against the hard new red-ball in SENA countries (South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia). 

Since, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja is certain to keep his place, Vihari might miss out at the SCG, if the team management do go with that option.

India and Australia will face each other in the third Test of the four-match series in Sydney, starting from January 7, with the series interestingly poised at 1-1.

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