Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma, left out of Team India’s squads for the upcoming Australia tour because of injury, courted controversy by turning up to bat on Tuesday night in an inconsequential game for his franchise against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Rohit’s presence in the middle was all the more surprising given Indian cricket board (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly‘s comments that he wanted the injured senior opener to tread cautiously and not risk aggravating a hamstring tear.
Rohit walked out for the toss with Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper David Warner in a dead rubber for MI, since they have already qualified as the top-ranked team for the playoffs. He was asked at the toss by former India left-arm-spinner-turned-commentator Murali Kartik, “Everything fit and fine with you?” Rohit’s reply seemed sarcastic. “Looks like that,” he said, and smiled.
Rohit’s decision to play the game is bound to raise the club-versus-country debate all over again, since it is clear the BCCI and Mumbai Indians are reading different fitness reports, despite Team India physio Nitin Patel being with MI for a decade.
Rohit has been out of action since the second-leg fixture against Kings XI Punjab due to a left hamstring tear. According to reports, the selectors’ decision to keep him out of the Australia tour has not gone down well with the player. What has apparently also irked him is the white-ball vice-captaincy going to KL Rahul.
Talking to PTI, BCCI president Ganguly stated that the board will do everything possible to get an “asset like Rohit” back in the park. Ganguly said, “Rohit is injured. Otherwise, why would we leave out a player like him? He is the vice-captain of the limited-overs team. We will have to assess him. I don’t know (when he can come back). He hasn’t played so far since the time he has got injured. We want him to recover. It’s the BCCI’s job to get their best players on the park. If he recovers, he plays,” Ganguly said.
The former captain reiterated the fears of coach Ravi Shastri when he said he does not want the player to get injured again. “He has a hamstring tear and it will get ruptured again. It will then get longer for him to come back. There are people working with him. Mumbai Indians physio is working with him. Indian physio (Nitin Patel) is there. Rohit himself knows he has got a long career ahead and it’s not just this IPL or next series . I am sure he is mature enough to do what is best for him,” Ganguly said.
He also stressed that what appears fine in practice may not do so in a match situation. “Things you do easily at the practice might be a bit of a struggle during match situation. The muscles react differently to pressure situations.”