Kohli backs decision to rest Rohit Sharma from West Indies tour
The decision to rest Rohit Sharma from India's upcoming limited-overs tour of the West Indies was a "smart" one, according to the captain Virat Kohli, who stressed the need to monitor the opener's fitness after a "massive hip surgery".
India are going to the Caribbean for five ODIs and a T20 international immediately after the Champions Trophy, and Kohli said Rohit had been left out of the squad with the view of ensuring his fitness for bigger assignments - tours to Sri Lanka and South Africa - later in the year.
"Rohit has come back and really had a full IPL season, which has been hectic," Kohli said after India won the semi-final against Bangladesh on Thursday; the squad had been announced by the BCCI during the course of the game. "They [Mumbai Indians] reached the final, so he got lesser rest than anyone else. Plus he had a massive hip surgery, so muscles around that area are always vulnerable, and today also he felt a bit of stiffness in his right knee.
"There is no doubt about Rohit's ability and what he brings to the team. We need to protect him going further, because latter half of the year we have massive tours coming up, and his batting contribution will be a huge factor for us. So we want him to be careful because after a massive surgery you do need to be careful. If you push yourself a little too hard then it snaps again, you're out for seven, eight months.
"It is a conscious decision by everyone to give him a break. He is making the most of the form he is in right now. And I'm sure he also knows and understands the whole situation."
Rohit suffered his injury during the home ODIs against New Zealand in October last year, and missed home series against England, Bangladesh and Australia. He returned to action during the IPL and led Mumbai Indians to the title, and made his India comeback in the ongoing Champions Trophy.
His unbeaten 123 off 129 balls in the semi-final against Bangladesh vaulted Rohit to second place in the list of highest run-scorers in the tournament - 304 runs in four innings at a strike rate of 87.60.
Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo