India face a nervous wait ahead of Sunday’s series decider against Australia with star opening batsman Rohit Sharma in doubt with a shoulder injury.
Already no certainty to have hard-hitting wicketkeeper batsman Rishabh Pant as he battles concussion, India will also be sweating on Rohit’s fitness.
The 32-year-old hurt his left shoulder while diving to stop a ball late in the hosts’ 36-run win over Australia in Rajkot on Friday night.
He immediately grimaced in pain and appeared to be struggling as he walked outside of the boundary rope and off the field.
Indian officials said both Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, who copped a blow to the ribs from a Pat Cummins delivery, are progressing well in their recovery.
However a final call won’t be made until before the match.
The potential loss of Rohit in particular would be a significant blow given he averages 59.68 against Australia with seven centuries.
KL Rahul would likely move back to open with Dhawan, with the former more comfortable at the top even after his quickfire 80 off 52 balls on Friday.
“I have always opened the batting so that’s position I am most comfortable with,” Rahul said.
“I know how to build my innings there.
“But I get to learn so much about own self and about my batting, and batting as an art, when I get to bat at three, four or five.
“I am enjoying it and finding new ways to counter bowlers and new ways to handle situations.”
Rahul had batted at No.3 in the series-opening flogging in Mumbai, with much criticism over Kohli being dropped down to No.4.
India changed their order back in Friday night’s win, and it paid dividends with Kohli also among the runs with 78.
Meanwhile, Rahul could also be asked to keep the gloves if Pant doesn’t recover in time from a concussion.
The regular wicketkeeper was sent straight to Bangalore after copping a knock to the head from a Pat Cummins delivery in the 10-wicket loss to Australia in Mumbai.
India were hopeful he would be back for the decider, but he must first pass all concussion protocols before his return is approved.
Australia Qantas ODI Tour of India 2020
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey (vc), Pat Cummins (vc), Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, David Warner, Adam Zampa
India squad: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami.
First ODI: Australia win by 10 wickets in Mumbai
Second ODI: India win by 36 runs in Rajkot
Third ODI: January 19, Bengaluru (D/N) (Fox & Kayo)