KEY POINTS

  • Rohit Sharma suffered an injury during the IPL 2020
  • Shreyas Iyer has been added to the Test squad as Rohit's cover
  • The Test series is set to begin in December

India’s Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma reportedly will miss the first two Tests of the upcoming Test series against Australia Down Under.

Fast bowler Ishant, who suffered an abdominal muscle tear during the recently ended Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, has regained match fitness. He will have to travel to Australia immediately if he wants to be taken into account for the third Test as he needs a minimum of four weeks of training, as reported by ESPN Cricinfo.

The Cricinfo report has stated that Ishant will have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine, meaning he can begin training only after two weeks. Since Ishant has been asked to practice for at least four weeks, the Indian pacer can only be fully prepared for the third Test, starting Jan. 7 at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

It is also understood that Rohit, who recently played in the IPL 2020, will take some time to regain full fitness. He can be cleared to travel to Australia only in the second week of December, while he’ll need two more weeks of further rehabilitation after which a final call can be made.

Rohit could have had a better chance of playing the Test series had he flown directly to Australia from the UAE with the other members of the Indian team, as per a BCCI official, Cricinfo reported. Even if Rohit flew to Australia by Dec. 8, he would have to serve a 14-day quarantine that would keep him out of training until at least Dec. 22.

Meanwhile, even though Ishant has been cleared to play, there are still concerns about the pacer’s fitness, which can be resolved once the player begins to bowl at least 20 overs a day.

"If there is a T20 game and he needs to just bowl four overs, Ishant is good to go immediately, but for him to get back to Test-match fitness, he needs four weeks of proper bowling still," Cricinfo quoted a BCCI source, as saying.

In case Rohit gets ruled out of the Test series, the selectors have already added his fellow Mumbai batter Shreyas Iyer, who is in India’s limited-overs squad, as a reserve batsman in the Test squad. Having played 54 First-Class games, Iyer has scored 4,592 runs at an average of 52.18, including 12 centuries and 23 fifties. He received his maiden Test call-up during India’s home series against Australia in 2016-17 as a cover for injured Virat Kohli. But, Iyer is yet to make his debut in the red-ball format.