Senior pros Ishant Sharma and Rohit Sharma have been ruled out of the first two Tests against Australia and the chances of making it for the final two are also slim, according to a ESPNCricinfo report.
To be in contention for the third Test, Ishant, who has regained bowling fitness still needs four weeks of workload to be Test match ready and will have to leave India almost immediately. Ishant had left the IPL in the early stages due to abdominal muscle tear.
The 14-day hard quarantine rule in Australia means he can start training only after two weeks; add another four weeks of preparatory training, and he can only be match-ready for the third Test, starting on 7 January in Sydney.
With opening batsman Rohit Sharma however, the matter is different and he can be cleared to travel only as early as 8 December by the National Cricket Academy, and then with the 14-day quarantine rule, he will be away from training till 22 December. Rohit though will not need as much time to be match-ready as compared to Ishant, for whom this is a second major injury in 2020.
Rohit, who suffered a hamstring injury during the IPL, is reportedly a fair distance from full fitness and could take another fortnight of rehabilitation to get to “70 or 80% readiness”, the report added.
At the NCA, Ishant has increased his bowling workload steadily since 18 November however, concerns remain about bowling long spells.
“If there is a T20 game and he needs to just bowl four overs, Ishant is good to go immediately, but for him to get back to Test-match fitness, he needs four weeks of proper bowling still,” a BCCI source was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
One of the other problems with Ishant and Rohit’s quarantine process is that unlike the rest of the Indian team who were afforded concessions to train because they went from one biosecure bubble to the other, UAE to Australia, they will not be allowed to follow suit as neither have been in a bubble at the NCA.