‘Age of WhatsApp Groups’ – Laxman, Gambhir Slam Miscommunication on Rohit Sharma Issue

Written by Vipin Darwade

Former India cricketers Gautam Gambhir and VVS Laxman said India could have handled the Rohit Sharma injury issue a lot better with some straightforward communication. Rohit did not travel with the Indian squad to Australia from the UAE, where he picked up a hamstring injury in the IPL 2020. Rohit had returned home to visit his father, who was unwell, and then went to the NCA in Bangalore for his rehab.

However, it seemed like the captain was unaware why Rohit went to India from UAE, as he said in the press conference prior to the first ODI.

“The Rohit Sharma situation could’ve been handled pretty easily since there wasn’t any need for too many people to get involved. Only the head physio, head coach and chairman of selectors were to be involved in the injury case. Had there been clear communication with the 3, it would’ve been enough. Of course, Virat Kohli was to get updated at every step through Ravi Shastri,” Gautam Gambhir said on Star Sports show Cricket Connected.

“It’s very unfortunate, because… he’s the captain, Virat Kohli. See again, he’s gone into the press conference, he’s told the media that he had no clue about the update.

“Probably, the three most important people in this entire scenario are, the head physio, your head coach and your chairman selector. So, all these people should’ve been on the same page and your head coach should’ve actually updated Virat Kohli on that front as to what’s the update on Rohit Sharma. You’re going into the press conference and saying that he had no clue about the injury or the update on Rohit Sharma’s injury, which is very, very unfortunate, because somewhere down the line, he’s an important player and at the same time, there could’ve been a much better communication and co-ordination, which was lacking somewhere.”

Speaking in the same show, Laxman said:

“I feel that in the first place he (Rohit Sharma) should have been selected and the communication gap is something which is disappointing. I am really surprised because in this age of communication where there are so many WhatsApp groups, there’s usually a group mail which goes around, I’m sure a group between the team management, the chairman of the selection committee and the in-charge of the medical team of the BCCI.

“Usually, everything is updated to the team management and everyone is kept in the loop. So, I am not sure why is there a communication breakdown as far as this case is concerned and we are talking about two senior players.

“Rohit Sharma is a very valuable player in Test matches. So I would’ve kept him in the chain, subject to fitness, would’ve definitely kept him in the picture. Secondly, you could’ve sent him with the team after that, keeping the quarantine rules in mind. Because there is a 14-day quarantine, in the soft quarantine since you have been in the bubble in UAE. Then you move to another bubble [in Australia]. In soft quarantine, you can practice, train with teammates, hit the gym.

“But when you’re taking a commercial flight to Australia, you won’t be allowed to go out of your room and mingle and come in contact with people. So, I believe, the BCCI should’ve thought of this in hindsight.”

Rohit is set to undergo a fitness Test after which he could play the last two Tests in Australia.

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Vipin Darwade