India captain Virat Kohli on Thursday said that the chances of Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma playing the Test series against Australia would have increased if the duo was doing their rehab Down Under. India and Australia are slated to face off in three ODIs, three T20Is, and four Tests. The first ODI will be played on Friday at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The Virat Kohli-led side will be without Rohit as the right-handed batsman is currently at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) undergoing rehab. Ishant Sharma is also at the NCA and right now, there is no certainty over the duo’s participation in the Test series.

“If Rohit and Ishant had travelled to Australia, it would have increased their chances of playing the Test matches. Someone like Saha who also got injured during IPL is here with us and he is doing rehab here. He is on the right path to be fit in time to play the first Test. The same is the case with Rohit and Ishant as well, it would have given them a chance to get themselves fit and be available for the Test series.”

“Right now, there is so much uncertainty about whether they would be able to make it at all or not. It definitely would have been very helpful if they were here and doing the rehab here just like Saha is,” said Kohli during the virtual press conference on Thursday.

Earlier today while speaking to ANI, sources in the know of developments said that BCCI president Sourav Ganguly will discuss the situation with Cricket Australia and look to find a solution to the issue as the two cricketers are undergoing rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru with an eye on the four-Test series.

“The BCCI president will be speaking to his counterpart at Cricket Australia and a decision will be reached after their meeting. The current quarantine guidelines might make it impossible for the two to reach Australia and be a part of the Test series as, under existing rules, they will need to completely isolate themselves and cannot train in the quarantine period. The rest of the Indian cricketers were allowed to train during the quarantine period because they moved from one bubble – in Dubai – to the other – in Sydney. So, relaxation will be needed if the two are to be a part of the Test series,” the source explained.

After the white-ball leg, both sides will shift their attention to the longest format of the game. The first Test between India and Australia will be a day-night contest, beginning from December 17 in Adelaide.

Kohli would be playing just one Test and then he would return home after being granted paternity leave by the BCCI.

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“The decision was made before the selection meeting, I explained to the selectors that I will be flying back after the first Test, and the decision was based on the fact that there is a quarantine system both ways. I wanted to be back home in time to be with my wife for the birth of our first child. That was the reason behind my decision and this was communicated to the selectors in the selection meeting,” said Kohli while explaining his decision to return to India.

The four-match series will be a part of the World Test Championship (WTC). Australia are on top of the standing while India is at the second position after ICC altered the points system for WTC due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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