Rohit exclusion, Agarwal’s inclusion raises hackles

Rohit exclusion, Agarwal’s inclusion raises hackles

Rohit Sharma. AFP

Selection of a senior Indian national cricket team is never a straight-forward exercise. There are always questions over the inclusion and the exclusion of certain players. The latest team selection for the long tour Down Under later this year is no exception. And the questions have got only shriller because the player involved is the second most important member in the Indian team - Rohit Sharma.

The exclusion of Rohit from all three squads (Tests, ODIs and T20Is) in itself wasn't surprising considering that he got injured during Mumbai Indians’ double Super Over IPL game against Kings XI Punjab, and subsequently missed two matches. What has, however, made people, including former players, question the BCCI is the lack of clarity on the injury status of Rohit.

All that the BCCI release, announcing the selection of three teams, said was: “The BCCI Medical Team will continue to monitor the progress of Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma.”

A release by Mumbai Indians on October 23, too, was concise but at least it mentioned the nature of the injury. “Rohit Sharma has suffered left leg hamstring strain during Mumbai Indians’ last outing (against Kings XI Punjab). Rohit has made good progress over the last four days, while the management is taking one day at a time monitoring the recovery process in consultancy with BCCI,” it read.

There appears some logic behind selectors’ decision to go slow on Rohit and approach a “wait and watch” policy. A hamstring injury, as the release by MI confirms, takes a few weeks to heal depending on the extent of the damage. But a clear statement on a possible recovery time by the BCCI would have gone a long way in avoiding speculations. But it neither empowers the selectors to speak nor does it clear the air. Opaqueness has been its favoured policy.   

What has also complicated the issue is Rohit batting in MI's 'nets' on the day of teams' selections and the inclusion of Mayank Agarwal for both ODIs and Tests though he too has sat out last two of KXIP’s games after sustaining a bruised knee against Delhi Capitals. The release, duly signed by secretary Jay Shah, is silent on the nature or extent of Agarwal’s injury.     

The manner of BCCI’s functioning left Sunil Gavaskar, who is in Dubai for his IPL commentary duty, demanding more transparency from the BCCI with regard to players’ injuries. He was particularly intrigued seeing Rohit batting in MI’s ‘nets.’ 

“We are talking about the Test matches, which are a month and a half way. What actually is the problem with him will help everybody. And if he is practicing in the nets for Mumbai Indians, then honestly I don’t know what kind of injury it is,” Gavasakar told IPL broadcaster Star Sports on Monday.

“I think a little bit of transparency, a little bit of openness about what actually is the problem with him will help everybody,” he added.

The tour of Australia comprises three T20 Internationals, as many ODIs and four Tests. The series is scheduled to start on November 27.