Mumbai have received a shot in the arm ahead of the knockouts of the Vijay Hazare Trophy – India’s domestic one-day competition – after Rohit Sharma made himself available for his home side. Mumbai will play their quarter-final next week and Rohit will play for Mumbai until they are alive in the tournament or until he has to join the India ODI squad to face West Indies.
Rohit was “very keen” to play for Mumbai last week itself against Maharashtra, chief selector Ajit Agarkar said, but they decided to play him in the quarter-finals as Mumbai had already qualified for the knockouts then. Rohit last played in the Vijay Hazare Trophy in the 2016-17 season, with scores of 16 against Andhra and 4 against Goa. Those were Mumbai’s last two league games that season and they won both but could not make it to the knockouts.
This season, they stormed into the knockouts with an unbeaten run in Group A, registering six wins from as many completed matches. They were boosted with the presence of three internationals in their batting line-up – Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer and Prithvi Shaw – even before Rohit joined them. The three batsmen have been among the top four run-scorers for Mumbai, with Rahane scoring 230 runs from three innings, Iyer smashing two centuries in his tally of 311 runs from four innings and Shaw accumulating 287 runs in three innings. While Rahane averaged the highest among them, his strike rate (83.03) was much lower compared to Iyer’s 114.76 and Shaw’s 143.50.
Rahane led the side initially, before Iyer took over when Rahane left for the West Indies Tests and Dhawal Kulkarni led them when Iyer played the two-day warm-up before the Test series. Iyer is going to lead them again in the knockouts, despite the presence of Rohit, who led India’s ODI side in the victorious Asia Cup campaign.
The quarter-finals begin on October 14, making them clash with the second Test against West Indies, leaving Mumbai without Rahane, Shaw and Shardul Thakur again.