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Rohit wary about rushing Bumrah back, hopeful fast bowler will play last two Australia Tests

The India captain also responds to rhetoric around his form after scoring his first ODI hundred in three years

Deivarayan Muthu
Rohit Sharma has warned India against rushing Jasprit Bumrah back into action and hopes the fast bowler will recover sufficiently from injury to be available for the last two Tests against Australia in March.
Bumrah was on his way back to the ODI side for the home series against Sri Lanka earlier this month, having recovered from the back injury he suffered prior to the 2022 T20 World Cup, when he sustained a new glute injury and was withdrawn from the squad. India's team management is being particularly cautious about Bumrah's fitness in the lead-up to the ODI World Cup in India in October-November later this year.
"About Bumrah, I'm not too sure at the moment, of course for the first two Test matches he's not going to be available," Rohit said after India swept New Zealand 3-0 in the ODI series. "I'm expecting that; not expecting but hoping he plays the next two Test matches but again we don't want to take any risk with him. The back injuries are always critical. We have got lot of cricket coming up after that as well, we will see, and we will monitor. We are in constant touch with doctors and physios at NCA and we are constantly hearing from them."
Bumrah has been on the sidelines since September last year because of a stress reaction in his back and was rehabilitating at the BCCI's National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. He had been advised rehab for a minimum of six weeks and was making gradual progress; he resumed training on November 25 and bowling on December 16 at the NCA. But the emergence of a new injury set him back further, putting him in doubt for Border-Gavaskar series as well.

Rohit shrugs off rhetoric around recent ODI form

Rohit has expressed his displeasure at the rhetoric around his recent form - or the lack thereof - in ODI cricket. In the third ODI against New Zealand in Indore, Rohit scored 101 off 85 balls, his first ODI hundred since January 2020, to set India up for a 3-0 series win. When asked about the three-year gap between ODI hundreds, Rohit explained that he had played fewer ODIs in the last three years, with T20 World Cups in 2021 and 2022 taking top priority during that period.
"I have played only 12 ODIs in three years," Rohit said. "Three years sounds a lot, but in that three years I have played only 12 or 13 [17] ODIs, if am not wrong. I know it was shown on the broadcast, sometimes we need to show the right things also. Last entire year we didn't play ODI cricket, we were focussing on T20 cricket a lot. Kabhi kabhi thoda woh hum ko dhyan chhahiye, broadcaster ko bhi sahi cheez dikhana chhahiye [We should pay attention to such things, the broadcaster, too, needs to check these things].
"Wapsi matlab kya main samjha nahi? [I don't understand what you mean by my return]. You are saying three years, out of which eight months we all were completely home due to Covid-19. Where were the matches happening? And in the last year we have just played T20 cricket. In T20 cricket at the moment, other than Suryakumar Yadav anyone else is batting better; he has hit two [T20I] centuries, I don't think anyone else has scored a century. In Test cricket, I have played just two matches against Sri Lanka. Otherwise, I was injured in between. Please check all that and after that you can ask me [about my form]."
While Rohit hasn't been scoring big hundreds of late in ODI cricket, he has gone harder and faster in the powerplay, which has allowed his partners to ease themselves in. India's head coach Rahul Dravid, who has tracked Rohit's career from his Under-19 days, had praised about Rohit's evolution as an ODI batter on the eve of the third ODI.
"He has been a phenomenal cricketer, and I think he obviously started off as this really precocious talent," Dravid said. "I remember seeing him for the first time when he was 17 or 18 - [he] just came out of Under-19s - and you could see that you're looking at something slightly different here. And he has gone on to prove that. You look at a lot of kids who look different at 19 but not all of them go onto actually achieve their potential. What Rohit has done over the last 15 years I think now has actually changed his potential and he's been a great servant for Indian cricket and has done really well.
"Maybe, like you said, the turning point was when ten years ago he got the opportunity to finally open. And really his hallmark has obviously been his performances in ICC tournaments, like we said in 2019, but also his ability to score big runs when he gets going. Someone who has got three double-hundreds in this format is an absolutely phenomenal achievement."

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo