On day Sourav Ganguly cautions Rohit Sharma against rushing back, MI captain plays

Rohit was injured (hamstring) in the game against Kings XI Punjab on October 18 and Kieron Pollard led the team in the next four matches.

A few hours after BCCI president Sourav Ganguly cautioned Rohit Sharma against focusing on the short term at the expense of his career, the Mumbai Indians skipper walked out for the toss in the final league encounter against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

To put matters in perspective, MI didn’t have much riding on the result of the game as they had already sealed top spot in the points table. They had also rested three of their match-winners – Hardik Pandya, Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah – for the game.

Rohit was injured (hamstring) in the game against Kings XI Punjab on October 18 and Kieron Pollard led the team in the next four matches. It was expected that if Rohit had to play any further part in this IPL, it would have been in the playoffs and not in a largely inconsequential fixture, at least for MI.

When asked at the toss: “everything fit and fine with you?” he replied: “Yeah, looks like that.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Ganguly said that Rohit, who has not been selected for the tour of Australia due to injury, should not rush his comeback.

“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,” Ganguly was quoted as saying by PTI.

“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,”

Physio Patel, in consultation with a couple of other specialists, had suggested rest for three weeks. By that assessment, he would not have been available before the IPL final on November 10, but the Mumbai Indians captain returned to action a week earlier. It was on this expert advice that the selection committee didn’t consider the 33-year-old while picking the three squads for the tour Down Under and said his fitness and recovery from injury will be closely monitored.

“The selectors were informed that Rohit will not be available for selection due to injury. He even submitted two expert doctors’ advice who both said Rohit needs rest for two to three weeks,” a BCCI official had said then.

There has been no official word from the board on the exact nature of the injury. However, Mumbai Indians, on several occasions, had put out images and videos of Rohit training and practising in net sessions every time BCCI has commented on his availability. It was done on the day the squads for Australia were named, when Team India head coach Shastri cautioned him against rushing back to cricket too early, before he returned to action on the day the board president spoke on the matter.

When Rohit did come out to bat on Tuesday, he looked short of match-sharpness. He volunteered for a sharp single to test his hamstring, but didn’t seem to be running too smoothly. In any case, the Mumbai Indians skipper was not in the middle for too long, chipping a Sandeep Sharma slower delivery to mid-off.

He also came out to field when Sunrisers batted. It could be considered a risk if the injury had not healed completely. Some may call this unnecessary, as Pollard is a fine captain in his own right. There may be a train of thought that Rohit wanted to test his injury to assess whether he was fit enough to play in Qualifier 1 on Thursday, and later, if needed. But the BCCI and the national selectors will not be too pleased if “an asset like Rohit”, in Ganguly’s words, aggravates his injury playing for his IPL franchise and misses a big overseas tour altogether.

“It’s the BCCI’s job to get their best players on the park,” the board president said. He will hope they can manage to accomplish that on the upcoming tour of Australia.”

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