We didn’t want to take a chance with Rohit Sharma’s fitness: Chetan Sharma

The five-member national selection committee does not want to โ€˜take a chanceโ€™ with Rohit Sharmaโ€™s fitness. The 34-year-old, who was named the white ball captain earlier this month, was not considered for the ODI series against South Africa because he is still โ€˜not fitโ€™ and with a busy international calendar, the Chetan Sharma-led selection panel wants to make sure that Rohit is absolutely ready before returning to action.

โ€œHe is currently in rehab and is building on his fitness. We never wanted to take a chance with Rohit. The selectors thought that we wonโ€™t take a chance unless he is 100 per cent fit,โ€ Sharma said on Friday, while naming KL Rahul as stand-in captain for the three-match ODI series.

“We thought that Rohit should do rehab and work on his fitness. There is so much cricket and no player wants to be injured. So, we thought that with the T20 World Cup nearing, we should ensure that Rohit is fully fit. We had a good chat with Rohit,” Sharma said.

READ: Chetan Sharma: Everyone told Virat to rethink his decision to quit T20 captaincy

Rohit had to miss out on the Test series against South Africa due to a hamstring injury. While Priyank Panchal replaced him, Rohit left no stone unturned to be fit ahead of the ODI series. The captain also underwent a rehab programme at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, but the selectors decided to wait and watch.

The chairman of selectors also made it clear that at the moment, the selection committee is only focusing on the T20 World Cup, to be held in Australia later in the year.

“We, the five selectors, are going from World Cup to World Cup. We definitely are preparing for the 2023 World Cup, but our first aim is the T20 World Cup. We are not thinking beyond that. We have no right to assume who will be fit or not. No one wants to be unfit. We are grooming KL Rahul and we also have Bumrah. We want them to learn and that will be good for Indian cricket,” Sharma said.

READ: Rohit Sharma ‘not fit’, K.L. Rahul to lead India in ODI series against South Africa

Sharma, a former India international, also clarified that there is no rift between Kohli and Rohit. Asked whether the selectors should sit down with Kohli and Rohit and talk, Sharma said, โ€œBut on what? There is no problem. If you were sitting in my place, you would enjoy seeing how these guys are working together as a team, as a family, as an unitโ€ฆ

โ€œVirat and Rohit are absolutely fine. Please avoid speculation. Both plan together really well. They have fantastic camaraderie. Please leave controversies behind in 2021,โ€ Sharma said.

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