Ishant Sharma is likely to miss the Test series against New Zealand: India has started their New Zealand tour on the right note by winning the first T20Is at Eden Park in Auckland. India was clinical in both the games as they completely outplayed the Kiwis. This is a full-fledged tour against New Zealand and so it was important to start on the right note. After the five T20Is, there are three ODIs which will be followed by a two-match Test series.
The two Tests will be important because they will be included in the World Test Championship. India is currently No.1 in the points table of the WTC and would look to increase the gap between them and the other teams. The squad for the Test series is yet to be announced but one of the major news regarding it is that Ishant Sharma might not be part of that.
Recently, while playing a domestic game, Ishant Sharma injured his ankle which resulted in a grade three tear. This injury will take to heal and he has been advised rest for six weeks. So, let’s have a look at three replacement options for the tall fast bowler if he fails to recover in time.
“Ishant Sharma’s MRI report shows a Grade 3 ankle tear and it is serious. He has been advised six weeks of rest and rehabilitation. It is indeed a big blow,” DDCA general secretary Vinod Tihara told PTI.
However, the Indian cricket board is yet to issue a statement on Ishant’s injury.
“It’s a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in BCCI as we will again do his MRI to ascertain the degree of tear and decide on his rehabilitation,” a BCCI source said.
Let’s have a look at three possible replacements for Ishant Sharma if he fails to recover before the Test series.
- Mohammad Siraj
There was a time when Mohammad Siraj was the talk of the town. He was consistently performing for India A and he was even good in the IPL. But now Siraj seems to be lost. He made his debut for India in the shorter formats and in both the formats he had forgettable debuts. After these debuts, no one was talking about Siraj.
Mohammad Siraj is currently part of the India A team which is touring New Zealand and he can be a possible replacement for Ishant Sharma if he fails to recover in time. In the recently concluded ODI series, he picked up 8 wickets in 4 games. To be honest the fast bowler from Hyderabad is more suited to the longer format than the shorter ones. He is currently in good form and the Indian team management might think to give him a chance for the New Zealand series.
- Shardul Thakur
Does anybody know that the player to make a Test debut for India before Shahbaz Nadeem was Shardul Thakur? Thakur had his debut in the second Test against West Indies in 2018 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.
Unfortunately, Thakur could only 10 balls in that game and had to leave the field because of an injury. Since then he hasn’t been picked in the squad for the longest format. He is currently part of the Indian team which is playing the T20I series.
He is not having the best of times on the field but he is a better bowler than that. Thakur has pace and he can swing the ball upfront and so the selectors might look at him as a replacement option for Ishant Sharma.
- Navdeep Saini
There was no doubt that Navdeep Saini had to be number one on this list. There is a possibility that he might get picked even if Ishant Sharma isn’t injured. So, of Ishant is injured then he will be picked.
Ever since Saini has made his debut for India and done well there are talks that he should play red-ball cricket for India and rightly so. He has been terrific for Delhi and India with the white clothes. He has pace and bowls a hard length which is difficult for most of the batsmen. He is a bit like Kagiso Rabada when you look at him closely.
Saini has done well in the limited opportunities which he has got to play for India and so there is no doubt that he deserves to be a part of the Test squad against New Zealand. A big section of fans is backing Navdeep Saini for his speed and skills and he can be a good replacement for Ishant Sharma.