Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI president, wants injured opener Rohit Sharma to be cautious when deciding whether or not to compete for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL 2020 playoffs, as he risks aggravating the hamstring tear that led to his exclusion from the Australia-bound India squad. At the same time, Ganguly sounded a positive note on Ishant Sharma, who is also out injured, saying that the quick’s side strain should heal in time for the Test series in Australia.
“Rohit is injured at the moment. Otherwise, why would we leave out a player like him? He is the vice-captain of the national (limited-overs) team,” Ganguly said. “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.”
Rohit has been out of action since playing against Kings XI Punjab on October 18 because of a left hamstring tear, and Ganguly stressed that the board would do everything possible to get an “asset like Rohit” back in action.
“Rohit is injured at the moment. Otherwise, why would we leave out a player like him? It’s the BCCI’s job to get their best players on the park. If he recovers, he plays.”
When asked about the videos put out by the Mumbai Indians – who are playing the last league game of IPL 2020, against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, today – where Rohit is seen batting in the nets, Ganguly said, “Yeah, you don’t want him 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. But yes, there are people working with him.
“The Mumbai Indians physio is working with him. The Indian physio [Nitin Patel] is there. Rohit himself knows that he has got a long career ahead and it’s not just this IPL or next series for him. I am sure he is mature enough to do what is best for him.
“I can tell you that things you do easily at the practice might be a bit of struggle during a match situation. The muscles react differently to pressure situations.”
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As for Ishant, Ganguly said his recovery has been going well, and he should be available for the Tests, starting mid-December.
“Yes, we are expecting Ishant to be back for the Test matches,” Ganguly said. “He has already started bowling from shorter run-ups and short spells. He has bowled at NCA. But as there is a BCCI protocol for fast bowlers, Ishant will be playing the two first-class games in Australia.”
There have been a few injuries in the ongoing IPL, including to Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Ganguly said that it was bound to happen after such a long break – because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Injuries are a part of sport and it will happen. The lesser you play, the more injured you will get. The more you keep playing, your body gets fitter, stronger and you will get less injured,” he said. “All of them came back after seven months of being locked at home with literally no activity. I don’t think injuries should be looked at like ‘Oh god, something is not right’.
“That’s what sport is all about. High intensity part of life and you will have injuries.”
Ganguly also backed Rishabh Pant, whose batting returns have tailed off after a reasonable start in IPL 2020, and who has been left out of the white-ball squads in Australia, to come good sooner rather than later.
“Don’t worry. His bat swing will come back. He is a young guy, and all of us need to guide him. He’s got tremendous talent,” Ganguly said. “Rishabh will be fine. He and Wriddhiman Saha are our two best wicketkeeper-batsmen in the country.”
After returning from Australia in the new year, India are expected to play England at home, and there have been doubts about India’s preparedness to host the series, given the situation with the pandemic in the country.
“We will have the England series in India. I can assure that there are no apprehensions from the England side,” Ganguly said, adding that IPL 2021 could also happen in India, and not the UAE: “IPL is a tournament for India, we want it to happen in India. There’s still six months. We will keep assessing.”