WELLINGTON (AFP) – Senior batsman Rohit Sharma was ruled out of the rest of India’s tour of New Zealand with a calf strain yesterday, while the hosts said skipper Kane Williamson was also sidelined by injury.
Sharma retired hurt last Sunday after blasting 60 from 41 balls in India’s seven-run win over the Black Caps in Mount Maunganui as the tourists swept to a 5-0 win in the Twenty20 (T20) series.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said Sharma “sustained a left calf muscle strain” and would take no part in the three one-day internationals (ODIs) and two Tests yet to be played in New Zealand.
“He underwent an MRI scan in Hamilton on Monday… and will be referred to the National Cricket Academy for further management of his injury,” a BCCI statement said.
The Indian selectors have named Mayank Agarwal as Sharma’s replacement in the three ODI matches starting today.
For the Test series starting on February 21, Prithvi Shaw, Agarwal and Shubman Gill will be India’s opening options.
Prithvi Shaw, 20, returned from a doping ban in November last year after playing two Tests for India against the West Indies in 2018.
Paceman Ishant Sharma also returns to the Test team, but will be subject to fitness clearance following an ankle injury during a domestic game in January.
New Zealand said Williamson would miss the opening two one-dayers after struggling to shrug off a shoulder injury that kept him out of the final two T20 fixtures.
His absence will be a major blow to the Black Caps, who go into the first ODI in Hamilton today low on confidence after the T20 whitewash.Team physio Vijay Vallabh said Williamson hoped to return for the final match of the series in Mount Maunganui next week.
“Kane has had an X-ray scan which cleared him of anything serious, but it’s best for his recovery that he avoids aggravating the joint for the next few days,” he said.
Selectors named Tom Latham as stand-in captain, and to reinforce the batting called up Mark Chapman, who scored back-to-back centuries against India A last week.
India are second in the ODI rankings, with New Zealand third.
The match in Hamilton will be New Zealand’s first ODI since the World Cup final in July last year, which ended with identical scores and England winning because they hit more boundaries in a tied deciding “super over”.
The Black Caps eliminated the heavily favoured Indians in the tournament semi-final, and the tourists will be keen to avenge the loss.