MI’s director of cricket operations Zaheer Khan has revealed that while Rohit Sharma took to the field in the last 3 games of IPL 2020 not 100% fit, he was still ‘fit enough’ to do a job for the side. Zaheer insisted that it is up to management to smartly handle players who are not fully fit.
The uncertainty, confusion and lack of clarity surrounding the fitness of Rohit Sharma has created a ripple in Indian cricket over the past few weeks and, to date, remains the biggest talking point. The 33-year-old was left out of the preliminary Indian squad to tour Australia, due to him nursing an injury, but turned up to play for the Mumbai Indians days after being deemed unfit. Further controversy ensued when he, despite proving his fitness in the IPL, was asked to go back home and rehab at the NCA, and the situation blew up to the extent that skipper Virat Kohli publicly condemned the miscommunication.
Earlier, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly claimed that Rohit was ‘only 70% fit’ during the IPL and now Zaheer Khan, Mumbai Indians’ director of cricket operations, has suggested the same. Speaking on Cricbuzz LIVE, Zaheer admitted that Rohit was ‘not 100% fit’ in the last three games but was ‘fit enough’ to play a T20 game and do a job for the side.
“Every case is different and you have to see how determined one is to play. And that’s something Rohit showed as well. He was fit and available. Not maybe at 100% fitness, but he was still able to do the job - 70 crucial runs in the final as well. So there are certain things to be looked upon for sure,” Zaheer said in Cricbuzz LIVE.
The justification that was given by the Indian management for Rohit’s initial exclusion was that he was not fit enough to play high-intensity cricket for a sustained period of time, but Zaheer opined that any player could be fielded at 70 or 80% fitness if they are managed properly. The 42-year-old felt that the communication surrounding Rohit’s fitness was not the best, and claimed that the management complicated matters.
“Communication is something which has been the talking point. But what I’d like to share is the complexities of the scenario and the situation. The requirement around the fitness for different formats is different as well. If you’re talking about T20s, it goes on for about 3.5 hours, you have ODIs which goes on for about 7 hours and Test matches go on for 30-40 hours.
“So every format requires different fitness demands. I think in Rohit’s case, the communication around that could have been simple. The management can also look at things differently - if you want a certain player to play a match, at what level of fitness you want him to be and what kind of role he is playing.”
The BCCI, on Thursday, also issued a clarification stating that Rohit had flown back to Mumbai to visit his father, who had fallen ill.