Rohit Sharma may have returned to action and played three back-to-back matches for the Mumbai Indians as they marched to a record fifth IPL title earlier this week, but he is still only "70 per cent" fit, according to BCCI president Sourav Ganguly.
"Rohit is still 70 per cent [fit]," Ganguly said in an interview with The Week when asked about Sharma playing for his franchise not long after being left out of the India touring party for Australia on fitness grounds. "Why don't you find out from Rohit himself? That is why he is still not picked for the ODIs and T20s down under. He has been added to the Test squad."
Sharma suffered a hamstring tear in his left leg on October 18 during the Mumbai Indians' match against the Kings XI Punjab in Dubai. He missed the team's next four games, but came back for the last three, helping them seal the title with a half-century in the final against the Delhi Capitals.
Along the way, the BCCI selectors first left Sharma out of all three squads for Australia, and later added him to the Test squad. It is expected that he would undergo rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru before joining the India squad in Australia ahead of the first Test in Adelaide, starting December 17, pending a fitness test. Sharma hasn't travelled to Australia with the rest of the contingent from the UAE.
In between, on November 3, Ganguly had also asked Sharma to exercise caution when deciding whether or not to return for the Mumbai Indians during the playoffs' stage. "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 had 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."
"I think people don't know how the BCCI works. The BCCI trainers, physio and Wriddhi himself know that he has two hamstring issues. People don't understand injuries, that is why they talk rubbish" Sourav Ganguly
Wriddhiman Saha is another member of India's contingent recovering from a hamstring injury. The wicketkeeper-batsman, who is part of the Test squad but not the limited-overs teams, has flown to Australia with the rest of India's touring party after missing the Sunrisers Hyderabad's last two matches. The BCCI's communication with the media with regards to player injuries has often been opaque, but Ganguly said Saha's situation - and the fitness of every player - was being closely monitored by the board and India's team management.
"Who should know [about player injuries]? We know, the Indian physio knows, the NCA knows," Ganguly said. "I think people don't know how the BCCI works. The BCCI trainers, physio and Wriddhi himself know that he has two hamstring issues. People don't understand injuries, that is why they talk rubbish.
"Wriddhi is travelling to Australia because he will be fit for Tests. He is not part of the shorter formats. For the entire duration of the IPL, Indian physios and trainers were in Dubai. [India physio] Dr. Nitin Patel is managing injuries and monitoring it all."
The Indian touring party - Ishant Sharma is another player who is recovering from injury and hasn't gotten on the plane yet - reached Sydney on Thursday, and immediately went into quarantine for two weeks.