India’s all-format captain Rohit Sharma has confirmed that the Men In Blue will miss the services of as many as five players in the third and final One Day International (ODI) against Australia. Two-time world champions India are scheduled to meet Australia in the 3rd ODI on Wednesday at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium. The upcoming encounter will be India’s final ODI game before the 2023 edition of the ICC World Cup.
After propelling India to a record-extending eighth Asia Cup crown in Sri Lanka, skipper Rohit along with ex-captain Virat Kohli were rested for the first two ODIs against Australia. The Rahul Dravid-coached side also opted to rest vice-captain Hardik Pandya and in-form spinner Kuldeep Yadav for the first two games. Pacer Bumrah, who recently returned to India’s squad, was unavailable for the 2nd ODI.
Speaking to reporters in the lead-up to the third and final ODI, skipper Rohit revealed that the Indian camp has been hit by a viral sickness. The 36-year-old also said that some players are unavailable for selection because they have opted to return home ahead of the ICC World Cup. Rohit’s Team India will kickstart their World Cup campaign against five-time champions Australia on October 8 at Chennai.
‘Lot of players have personal problems’
“We have got a lot of players who are sick and not available, a lot of players have personal problems so they have gone home and a few of the guys have been rested as well. We have got 13 players at this point in time,” Rohit said at the press conference. “Obviously, Gill has been rested, Shami, Hardik and Shardul have all gone home…again, personal things. Axar, obviously, is not available for this game,” Rohit explained.
Rohit’s deputy Pandya didn’t play a single match against Australia. The fast bowling duo of Mohammed Shami and Shardul Thakur featured in the first two games of the ODI series. Pandya, Shami and Shardul have all decided to go back to their respective homes ahead of the 3rd ODI. While opener Gill has been given a break after India took an unassailable 2-0 lead, all-rounder Axar Patel is recuperating from a left quadricep injury at the National Cricket Academy (NCA).
‘Lot of uncertainty in the team’
“There is a bit of viral going around in the team as well. So, there is a lot of uncertainty in the team at this point in time which we cannot help. Looking at the next few weeks it is quite important for us to look after the players and their well-being. So, it is okay for them to be at home at this point — the reason being we want everybody to be fresh during the World Cup and hopefully they can come back fresh,” the Indian captain added.