India opener Rohit Sharma has joined the squad for the much-coveted match against Australia in the third Test in Melbourne. The Mumbai cricketer had suffered a hamstring injury during the super-over match between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2020 and was under rehab to regain match fitness for the Test series versus Tim Paine & Co.
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Speaking on the same, former India cricketer Pragyan Ojha reckons that the swashbuckling Indian cricketer would have to spend a lot of time practicing in the nets before he makes it to the Indian playing XI for the SCG Test.
“Rohit needs a lot of practice now because he had a 14-day quarantine period in his room, he has to get used to the conditions there and I think it is the best way – go out there and practice,” Ojha said on Sports Today.
Post the successful completion of IPL 2020 wherein Rohit led the Mumbai Indians (MI) to their 5th IPL trophy, the 33-year-old Nagpur-born had traveled back to India to undergo complete rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru for the Australia tour. He was ruled out of the limited-overs matches and only after clearing the fitness Tests that he was allowed to travel to Australia.
Highlighting the same, Ojha stated that the major objective behind Rohit’s training at the NCA was to ensure his complete fitness for the Test series against Australia. He added that Rohit was asked to reduce his weight, as he had gained during the lockdown period ahead of his participation in the Indian Premier League in UAE
“At NCA they made sure that Rohit was training harder because during the IPL and before that he had put on a little bit of weight, so they wanted him to reduce that.
When you have not played for so long we are seeing a lot of injuries this season. So maybe because of that, they wanted Rohit to totally match fit. At NCA, everybody’s focus was to get Rohit ready so that he doesn’t have an injury on the field,” Ojha added before concluding.
Rohit Sharma’s addition does add a considerable amount of strength to the Indian batting order.
Hitman, as the fans fondly call him, had a memorable outing with the bat in the 3-match Test series against South Africa at home conditons in 2019, as he amassed over 500 runs at a sky-high average of 132.25 with scores of 176 (244), 127 (149), 14 (35) and 212 (255). And as of present, the right-hander has a total of 2141 runs in 32 Tests at an average of 46.54 and would look to better his away numbers, especially in SENA countries, starting from the third Test in Sydney.
However, it still isn’t sure as to where he would be batting – at the top-order as an opener or in the middle-order. Moreover, who would be dropped between Mayank Agarwal and Hanuma Vihari to accommodate the Mumbaikar in the playing XI is something only time would tell.