*Image by Ratan Lal shows Rohit Sharma and his wife Ritika Sajdeh landed in the capital of Ranchi

When Rohit Sharma and his wife Ritika Sajdeh landed in the capital of Ranchi,Australia had suffered a massive scare ahead of the first T20  against India as skipper Steven Smith sustained a minor shoulder injury during practice in Ranchi.

This was on Thursday.Today,when the Australian management heaved a sigh of relief as Smith was declared fit by the doctors to take part in the first match.Yet,since Australia had already lost the ODI series 4-1 on this tour and they would look to make amends in this three-match T20 series,the visitors need their talismanic skipper to lead from the front.

Another major challenge for the players of both India and Australia in their first match of the series set to be played in Ranchi on Saturday had nothing do with the stadium or bat and the ball.It was centred around mosquitoes.

Ranchi,birth place of veteran cricketer MS Dhoni,and its surrounding areas of Hazaribagh,Gumla,Lohardaga and Palamau have suffered from mosquitoes for long.Many people,especially poor Adivasis had died due to the disease-malaria.

No matter whether or not these top cricketers of India and Australia were aware of this problem,Rabi Bhushan Singh,a scientist,who was inside Jharkhand State Cricket Association's International Stadium where first T20 is taking place between India and Australia on Friday was heard talking about mosquitoes genetically engineered not to smell humans.

*Image by Ratan Lal shows Indian skipper Virat Kohli in Ranchi

In fact,these genetically engineered mosquitoes may offer relief to these cricketers who spend hours in the open stadium plagued by itchy bites.In any case,efforts to prevent the spread of malaria by killing mosquitoes with insecticides are proving problematic,because they quickly become resistant to the chemicals.

And,now,the US defence department has awarded a grant of $ 1 million to insect specialists Andrew Nuss and Dennis Mathew to create genetically engineered mosquitoes that are not attracted to people.The technique involves identifying the smell receptors that mosquitoes use to detect human flesh for blood,and switching them off,or replacing them with other smell receptors that make them attracted to other animals.

Every body knows that mosquitoes thrive in cities and forests where they can find lots of people to feed on."We hope,the the US awarded project to create genetically engineered mosquitoes not attracted to cricketers",laughs Singh.

His laughter comes at a time when the state government led by BJP leader and Chief Minister Raghubar Das has not made any move to protect cricketers from mosquitoes bite.       


India: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Axar Patel.

Australia: Steve Smith (C), David Warner (VC), Jason Behrendorff, Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa

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