Ishant Sharma and Rohit Sharma have been reportedly ruled out of the first two Tests of the upcoming four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia slated to begin from December 17 in Adelaide.
ESPNcricinfo confirmed the development and stated the hopes of both the players to take part in the last two Tests hinges on "swift and decisive action" from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
To be in contention for the third Test which begins January 7 next year in Sydney, Ishant, who has regained bowling fitness, will have to board a plane almost immediately, the report further said.
"If there is a T20 game and he needs to just bowl four overs, Ishant is good to go immediately, but for him to get back to Test-match fitness, he needs four weeks of proper bowling still," a BCCI source was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
Rohit, on the other hand, is currently at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) recovering a hamstring injury he suffered during the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
However, according to the report, the batsman is understood to be a while away from full fitness. He can be cleared travel only in the second week of December and will need two weeks of further rehabilitation after which a final assessment can be made.
According to a BCCI functionary, the 32-year-old would have had a better chance of featuring in the Test series had he flown directly to Australia with the other squad members after taking part in the IPL in the United Arab Emirates, the report further stated.
Even if Rohit flies out on the earliest possible date, which is December 8, he would have to undergo a two-week quarantine, which will keep him out of training until at least December 22, the report said.
Earlier, Team India head coach Ravi Shastri had on Sunday said that Rohit and Ishant will have to be on the flight to Australia in the "next four or five days" if they are to take part in the Test series.
"He's (Rohit) going through some tests at the NCA and they're obviously going to decide (for) how long he needs to take a break," Shastri said, speaking to ABC Sport.
"But things could get difficult if he's asked to wait for too long, (because) then you're talking of the quarantine again, which might make it really tough for even him to come just in time for the Test series," he added.
Shastri had said that Rohit was never considered for the limited-overs leg, which includes three ODIs and three T20Is.
"He was never going to play the white-ball series, they were just looking to see how long he needed the rest, because you can't afford to be resting for too long," Shastri said. "If you need to play in the Test series or any red-ball cricket, you've got to be on the flight in the next three or four days. If you aren't, then it's going to be tough."
"It's a similar case to Rohit," Shastri said of Ishant. "You don't really know how quickly he'll be available to fly out. Like I said, if anyone has to play in the Test series, he has to be on the flight in the next four or five days. Otherwise, it's very difficult."