Injury scare for Rohit Sharma during nets ahead of the semi-final against England

He was struck on the forearm by a throwdown specialist but came back to bat after a while

Sidharth Monga
Sidharth Monga
What was expected to be an uneventful day at India's optional training session turned out to be a hectic day at work with their captain Rohit Sharma in an injury scare. When facing throwdowns from one of three specialists that India use, Rohit was hit on the forearm, looked in pain, gave up batting, but ended the session on a positive note with a decent hit, which did begin gingerly.
India batters like to bat against the dog-thrower because of the extreme pace it generates, which prepares them to face high pace out in the middle. They give credit to these throwdowns for having improved their reaction times against high pace. However, this particular ball just nipped back in and hit Rohit on the right forearm.
It looked like a nasty blow from how Rohit first reacted. He looked in pain, and received immediate medical attention. After about five minutes or so, he gloved up again to see how the hand is feeling, but played just one ball and walked off.
On the sidelines, Rohit sat with a big icepack on his arm. Mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton had a long chat with him. D Raghavendra, the throwdown specialist, looked distraught. However about 45 minutes or so later, Rohit went back into the nets. He started off carefully, just defending a few easy throwdowns to get the sensation back in the arm, and then went on to bat normally. Even against Raghavendra's throwdowns.
At the end of the session, Rohit had a chat with Raghavendra, which seemed to put the support staff member at ease. With one more training session before the semi-final against England, the cause for concern around Rohit is low.
The other interesting part of the optional session was the time Dinesh Karthik spent batting. He and Hardik Pandya were the only other members of the squad who chose to make use of the training session.
Karthik was not played in India's last league match because India wanted to give Rishabh Pant some time in the middle especially looking at the spinners left in the tournament. Five of the six remaining spinners - Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi and Adil Rashid - take the ball away from right-hand batters. Keeping that in mind, there has been some thought around keeping Pant ready should India play him. Previously India have promoted Axar Patel to try to get a right-left combination going when spinners are operating.
However, if India do go for Pant, they might have to push Hardik Pandya down the order to No. 6 because Karthik is the only specialist batter India have who can just walk in and score quickly. Pandya used to do that job for Mumbai Indians earlier, but this year he has been playing more like a long-innings middle-order batter who likes to get in before starting hitting.
Also in the semi-final, India might come against an offspinner as well in Moeen Ali. That tips the scales in favour of Karthik a little. India's team management did say that Pant playing the last match didn't mean Karthik was out of favour. His having a long hit might suggest he is very much in the picture for England.
"Sometimes it gives us the opportunity keeping obviously this game in mind but just keeping the future in mind, as well, just opening up our options," coach Rahul Dravid had said after the last match. "I think everyone is available for selections; just because somebody missed out on this game doesn't mean that we can't go back to him and we can't decide on… we might go the same way. We might go a different way as well."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo