In a major setback for India, who are looking to bounce back from their defeat in the opening game against New Zealand, fast bowler Ishant Sharma has potentially been ruled out of the second Test, starting on Saturday, 27 February, in Christchurch, after suffering a recurrence of the ankle injury sustained during India’s domestic season.
Ishant had twisted his right ankle while belting out an appeal during Delhi’s match against Vidarbha at the 2019/20 Ranji Trophy, which had put his participation in the New Zealand Tests in doubt. Ishant joined the Indian Test contingent late, only after undergoing fitness tests at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, after which he was cleared to take the flight. Reports state that Umesh Yadav is likely to be Ishant’s replacement.
Ishant was a fairly regular presence in the nets in the days leading up to the Test, but skipped practice on match eve, after complaining of pain in the ankle. He was subsequently sent for tests, the results of which are yet to arrive.
India’s management is leaving the decision on whether or not to include Ishant for as late as possible. If Ishant does miss the game, India will go into it without their most experienced, as well as most successful in the series opener, pacer. Ishant was one of the few bright spots for India, who were consigned to a heavy 10-wicket defeat in Wellington.
Umesh last played for India during a very successful home season, in which the side won all its games, and Umesh contributed 23 wickets in four Tests, at 13.65, to those wins.
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