India’s prime opener Rohit Sharma has not yet recovered from the hamstring injury that he suffered during the first match of the tri-series against Australia in Melbourne and he is likely to miss Sydney ODI against Australia scheduled to be held on 26th January.

Speaking in the pre-match press conference, India skipper MS Dhoni informed that while Rohit will not be there, while Ishant Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja are available for selection.

Ishant had suffered an ankle injury whereas Jadeja had a left shoulder injury. In the pre-match practice session on Sunday, Ishant was the first to have a bat in the nets while Jadeja joined him little later. Dhoni said smart management of players will be essential heading into the World Cup. He said, “We will have to decide whether we want to give them a few more net sessions before playing them or give them a game right away. When it comes to Jadeja we will also have to monitor his throwing ability and decide whether to have him in the deep to cover the big boundaries or have him inside the circle.”

When asked if team selection led to India’s previous defeat, Dhoni added, “We have been playing our best XI but we have been hampered by injuries. We do look to try different things but also look to win the game. There is no point in playing someone with a niggle with so less time into the World Cup. You might win the game but end up losing that player for the World Cup. I know this tournament is important but we do not want to lose our best players for the World Cup”.

He also said that he is happy with the preparation, “The plus point was we knew about the schedule well in advance. It is more the mental than physical state that is important and since the guys knew about it, they had enough time to prepare themselves mentally for this busy season. It is important to switch off and switch on and breaks like this help you do that. In the last few days made sure that the practice sessions we have are more realistic. Give the players enough break but make sure the sessions are more purposeful. Today we will have a slightly lighter session followed by the game tomorrow.”

The next match is going to be crucial, as a defeat will 99% knock India out of the tournament. This would be a bitter blow for us before the coming world cup.

    Established sports writer across various global platforms

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