Ishant Sharma clears fitness set, set to join Indian squad
Fast bowler Ishant Sharma cleared his fitness test at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru on Saturday. The 31-year-old had sustained an ankle injury during a Ranji Trophy match earlier this year. However, he was named in the Indian squad for the New Zealand Test series. He will join the contingent ahead of the first Test, starting February 21. Here's more.
Ishant had suffered a Grade 3 tear on his right ankle while bowling against Vidarbha in the Ranji Trophy match in January. Although his initial report suggested him a rest of six weeks, the BCCI seemed confident of his recovery. The senior pacer, who missed India's recently concluded practice match against New Zealand XI, will likely lead the pace attack in the first Test.
"He has been advised complete rest for six weeks. There is little chance of him playing the Test series. When he goes to the NCA will depend on his getting into a position where he can walk properly," DDCA director Sanjay Bhardwaj had said.
Ishant Sharma has been pivotal for the Indian pace attack in the longest format for the last three years. He is nearing the 300-wicket mark, having scalped 292 wickets in 96 Tests so far. Besides, he averages 22.63 since January 2017 with 80 wickets in 23 matches. In 2019, he went past Kapil Dev after taking his 156th Test wicket outside Asia.
Ishant's availability will further boost the chances of Team India in the upcoming Test series. India will be banking heavily on his bright form in the recent Tests. His bowling average of 15.56 in 2019 proves why India require their most experienced pacer against New Zealand. He also snapped up 11 wickets in 2 Ranji Trophy games before getting injured midway through the tournament.
It was a roller coaster ride for me after the injury on my ankle on the 20th January but with the help of Ashish Kaushik I managed to pull it off! Scans were a little scary, but today I am happy that I am fit ! 🏏 Thanks Ashish Kaushik! #recoverymode #recovery #postinjury pic.twitter.com/xwNpecc0Iz— Ishant Sharma (@ImIshant) February 15, 2020