Rohit showed total recovery from injury - Bangar
Sanjay Bangar, India's assistant coach, said that Rohit Sharma's 142 against the Sri Lankans in a warm-up match on Thursday showed that the Mumbai batsman had fully recovered from the finger injury that had sidelined him for more than two months. Bangar, who was in charge of India A for the warm-up game at Brabourne Stadium, also praised Manish Pandey, who scored an unbeaten 135 off 113 balls, in India A's 88-run win over the visitors.
"His [Rohit's] match fitness had to be assessed and that was the reason the selectors had roped him in. He gave a fantastic account of himself," Bangar said. "He has been practising really hard over the last 10 days at BKC [Bandra-Kurla Complex facility]. And he showed total recovery from that injury while batting and showed no discomfort at all. He fielded throughout the 50 overs and those are good signs for the Indian team."
Rohit batted five minutes shy of three hours and didn't look in any discomfort despite playing with a heavily taped finger. With chief national selector Sandeep Patil watching the game, Rohit gave an indication that he had regained his fitness. The batsman, however, didn't field in catching positions, and was placed at mid-off or mid-on during Powerplays and in the deep for the rest of the Sri Lankan innings. He shielded his right hand, which had been injured, while latching on to a skier in the deep to dismiss Thisara Perera off Kuldeep Yadav.
Rohit was not considered for India's squad for the first three ODIs against Sri Lanka, between November 2 and 9. Interestingly, the Mumbai selection panel, headed by Patil, also didn't consider him for their first two games of the West Zone one-day league to be played on November 8 and 9.
According to a Mumbai selector, Rohit was not picked as it would have been too hectic for him to play back-to-back games in Ahmedabad and then join the India squad for the fourth ODI in Kolkata, which will be played on November 13. It is likely that the team management may ask Rohit to join the squad before the third ODI to monitor his fitness.
While the focus was on Rohit, Pandey played the best innings of the day. He unleashed his trademark drives against pacers and used his feet against the spinners, while playing some delicate shots, including the upper cut, with precision. The Karnataka batsman had received his maiden call-up two weeks ago when he was included in the squad for the T20 against West Indies. However, his wait for an India debut was extended after West Indies returned home before the completion of the tour. Bangar said he was delighted to see Pandey put the episode behind him and excel with the bat.
"He has been batting pretty well, consistently. His state side won a lot of championships. They won the Irani [Trophy], the Duleep Trophy, the Ranji Trophy, most of the championships that they played in," Bangar said. "He played a vital part in that. He had a fantastic IPL also, he won the final for Kolkata Knight Riders. He has been in tremendous touch.
"He is always on the fringes. This innings of his can give him a lot of confidence because he came after we were put in to bat and you always expect the CCI wicket to do a bit in the first hour-and-a-half. So, from that perspective, it must have been very satisfying for him."
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo