Kohli baffled by Rohit's absence in Australia, Ishant ruled out of tests

SYDNEY (Reuters) - India captain Virat Kohli said he was kept in the dark about deputy Rohit Sharma’s hamstring injury and believes the opener should have travelled to Australia to boost his chances of playing the test series against Tim Paine’s men.

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup - India v Pakistan - Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - June 16, 2019 India's Rohit Sharma celebrates his century with Virat Kohli Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith/File Photo

Rohit was initially ruled out of the entire Australia tour with the injury which kept him out of four Indian Premier League (IPL) matches in the United Arab Emirates.

The 33-year-old, however, returned to lead Mumbai Indians to a record fifth IPL title, prompting questions about the extent of his injury.

The Indian board subsequently added him to the test squad, while monitoring his recovery at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, having deemed him still unfit to travel with the rest of the team to Australia.

“It’s been very confusing and there’s been a lot of uncertainty ... around the situation,” Kohli said ahead of Friday’s one-day series opener in Sydney.

“After that (injury), he played in the IPL, so we all thought that he was going to be on that flight to Australia, which he wasn’t.

“So from the time that the selection meeting happened ... there’s been no information, there’s been a lack of clarity. And we’ve been playing the waiting game on this issue for a while now which is not ideal at all.”

The BCCI said later on Thursday that Rohit returned to Mumbai after the IPL to visit his ailing father before heading to the NCA.

Rohit will be reassessed on Dec. 11 before the board takes a call on his participation in the four-test series which begins in Adelaide on Dec. 17.

However, fast bowler Ishant Sharma has been ruled out of the tour despite recovering from his side strain.

“While he’s building up his workload in order to achieve test match fitness, Ishant Sharma has been ruled out of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy,” the BCCI added.

Meanwhile, fast bowler T Natarajan has been added to the ODI squad as backup after Navdeep Saini complained of back spasms.

The India captain was also unhappy with the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) decision to change rules to determine the finalists for next year’s World Test Championship (WTC).

Considering the matches that could not be played because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ICC has decided to rank teams based on the percentage of points won, instead of accumulated points, from completed matches.

“It’s definitely surprising,” said Kohli, whose team led the points table but have now slipped to second place, behind Australia, who have a higher percentage of points.

“It’s happened out of nowhere and I think further questions about this should be asked to the ICC and understand why this has been done...”

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi, additional reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Toby Davis and Christian Radnedge