The BCCI on Friday issued a statement informing T. Natarajan and Shardul Thakur to be included in the team in place of Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami. In the same statement, the board was informed about making Rohit the vice-captain.
Rahane is the acting captain of the team. Virat Kohli has returned home for the birth of his first child and therefore was captained by Rahane in the second Test match. Rahane will also be captain in the next two Tests.
Rohit has not played competitive cricket since he played the IPL final on 10 November. He arrived in Australia in mid-December and then spent two weeks quarantine in Sydney.
He arrived in Melbourne from Sydney on Wednesday and practiced on Thursday. Rohit has not played Test cricket since November. In November last year, he played a day-night Test match against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. He had confirmed his place as an opener but was injured on the tour of New Zealand.
Rohit can now open the innings with Shubman Gill in the third Test match. Mayank Agarwal may have to go out if he comes in the team.
The team’s head coach Ravi Shastri said this week that he would talk to Rohit and see if he would be fit.
Shastri had said, we will talk to him and see how fit he is because he was quarantine for a few days. We will see how they are feeling before deciding on them.
Indian team for the last two Tests: Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Rishabh Pant ( Wicketkeeper), Jaspreet Bumrah, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammad Siraj, Shardul Thakur, T. Natarajan.