New Delhi: A knee injury kept Rohit Sharma out of the Oval Test after his first overseas century on foreign soil. He again missed the opening game of the second leg of IPL against the Chennai Super Kings. As the October 10 deadline for the selectors to relook at the squad and, perhaps, make some cosmetic changes to it before the ICC event draws close, there should be a huddle to work out a solution for a backup opener in case Rohit struggles with his fitness in the course of the tournament.
Murmurs about bringing back Yuzi Chahal into the team are strong, so is organizing a fitness Test for batting all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who is struggling to bowl in the ongoing IPL, is a possibility. The question is whether out-of-favor Shikhar Dhawan is a good choice or not for the backup opening slot. There are rich choices to pick right from Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaekwad, and Venkatesh Iyer, but a feasible pick is the need of the hour.
There is only one name that fits the bill. It has got to be Dhawan. More so, he has an impeccable record in ICC events. As luck would have it, Dhawan is also the third-best run-getter in 2021 IPL and looking good with over 500 runs. Unfortunately, he isn’t a part of the World T20 team because of his lackluster form. The selectors picked Ishan Kishan as a back-opener cum middle-order batsman. Chahal is also not a part of the team. That is because the selectors opted for Rahul Chahar — who plays for Mumbai Indians.
Hardik Pandya is another MI player whose fitness and form are in question. The selectors and BCCI are questioning his fitness because he is not bowling in the IPL. Even his batting form is pathetic. But he has the support of his captain Virat Kohli.
There is still a lot to be desired, and the selectors’ job is far from over. A round-table conference is imminent. One more round of rejigging is inevitable as to who comes in and who goes out. That is because post-October 10, the board can only opt for a change in case of an injury. Is it not a feasible option to ask Shikhar to stay back in the middle-east after IPL gets over?