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'Was very hard to watch from the sidelines': 'Fit and fine' Rohit excited to be on the field again

Southampton, July 6 (IANS) Indian captain Rohit Sharma on Wednesday said that it was tough for him to watch the Edgbaston Test from the sidelines while recovering from Covid-19, adding that he is excited to be back on the field after becoming healthy again.

Sharma was set to lead India in the rescheduled fifth Test against England at Birmingham but tested Covid-19 positive during the four-day warm-up game against Leicestershire, which ruled him out of the match and Jasprit Bumrah did the duty in his absence.

The 35-year-old Sharma, who is the only addition to India’s squad that toured Ireland, will now lead the team in the T20I series opener on Thursday. After training for three straight days in Birmingham, he joined the rest of the group on Thursday afternoon.

“It was very hard to watch from the sidelines, it’s never an easy situation when you miss games, especially an important game like that, where the series was on the line for us,” said Sharma in a press conference on the eve of the first T20I.

“A couple of days I was struggling a little bit, but I’m happy I’m standing back on my feet nice and healthy as I look forward to this T20 series, followed by the ODI series. It’s always nice to get back and get back playing, that’s the most important thing. I’m excited to be on the field and getting along with the boys,” he added.

After testing positive, Sharma completed the mandatory five days of isolation and later returned three Covid-19 negative tests. Asked about his health status and recovery, Sharma said he is feeling “fit and fine”.

“My recovery has been good. Eight-nine days it’s been since I tested positive. We’ve seen how every player has responded differently to Covid. Am not sure what will happen, but for now, I am fit and fine,” he said.

“I resumed training three days back, which is why I decided to play in this game, because body-wise, I’m feeling better. There are no symptoms now. I have returned two-three negative tests. I’m just looking forward to the game, it’s going to be an exciting one,” he added.

After joining the rest of the squad, the Indian skipper’s first act was to catch up with interim coach VVS Laxman, who oversaw the team in Ireland and during the two warm-up games in England in the build-up to the series. According to Sharma, the conversation was to understand where each player is at.

“I just wanted to understand what was happening with the team all this while,” he said. “Today is the first day I joined the team. They’ve been travelling to Ireland; they played a couple of practice games as well,” the skipper said.

“I was just trying to understand what sort of mindset the boys are in, and how the preparation has been for each individual. It was just about catching up on things I wasn’t a part of. Obviously, it’s always nice to understand what is happening within the team,” he added.

–IANS

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