Australia vs India 2018: Ravichandran Ashwin, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja injury updates
What's the story?
The injury status of four key Indian players Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya are out and with just three more days to go until the third Test against Australia, some of them are in a race against time to prove their fitness.
Ashwin, who suffered an abdominal strain, was ruled out of the second Test match at Perth which the hosts won by 146 runs. He was instrumental in India's win at the Adelaide Oval in the first Test, picking up six wickets. In spite of being a part of the Indian squad for the first two Tests, Ravindra Jadeja did not get an opportunity to make the XI.
Though he was the natural choice after Ashwin was ruled out of the Perth Test, he failed to make the cut. Meanwhile, 'Hitman' Rohit Sharma, who played the first Test, scoring 38 runs (both the innings), was ruled out of the second Test after hurting his lower back while fielding at Adelaide.
Though all-rounder Hardik Pandya was not a part of the Indian squad for the first two Tests, he has been included for the last two Test matches to be played at Melbourne and Sydney. Pandya, who sustained a back injury during an Asia Cup fixture against Pakistan in September, will be playing his first Test match since the Oval Test against England.
The heart of the matter
According to the Daily Mirror, Ashwin will undergo a fitness test on Sunday (December 23) to prove his fitness ahead of the Boxing Day Test while a call on Rohit's availability will be taken later.
Coach Ravi Shastri said, "Rohit Sharma will be monitored over the next day and a call will be taken after that".
On Ravindra Jadeja's possibility of making the XI, Shastri said, "Jadeja had taken an injection four days after coming to Australia because of some stiffness in his shoulder. It took a while for that injection to settle down.
"At Perth, we felt he was about 70 to 80 percent fit, and we didn’t want to risk him. If he is 80% fit here, he’ll play".
Though Shastri confirmed Pandya's availability for the third Test, he said, "He’s played only one game after the injury, so we have to be careful in deciding in whether he actually plays or not.”
With the series level at 1-1, the Boxing Day Test will be a cracker of a contest. But we have to wait too see which of these four players will make the cut at the MCG.