Rohit Sharma will miss the New Year’s Test in Sydney to attend to his wife, who gave birth to a baby daughter on Sunday. Rohit left for Mumbai on Sunday, and will only return to Australia on January 8 to join the ODI squad. The Sydney Test is scheduled to run from January 3 to 7.
The selectors have not named a replacement for Rohit in the Test squad. Rohit, who missed the second Test in Perth with a lower-back injury, played the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, scoring an unbeaten 63 in the first innings.
His return to the side at No. 6 pushed Hanuma Vihari up the order to open alongside debutant Mayank Agarwal, with India dropping both their openers from the Perth Test, M Vijay and KL Rahul.
In Rohit’s absence, India have a number of options for the Sydney Test. Vihari could return to the middle order with either Vijay or Rahul coming back into the side, or the seam-bowling allrounder Hardik Pandya could directly replace Rohit at No. 6. If the Sydney pitch looks conducive to spin, another option, if the offspinner R Ashwin has regained full fitness after missing the last two Tests with a side strain, could be to go in with two spinners, Ravindra Jadeja being the other, and three fast bowlers.