Ishant Sharma took 5/68 and this was his third five-wicket haul in New Zealand but he could miss the Christchurch Test. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Ishant Sharma, India's best bowler in the Wellington Test when he picked up a haul of 5/68, is in doubt for the second and final Test against New Zealand at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch due to an ankle injury, the same injury which he sustained during the Ranji Trophy game before his arrival in New Zealand. According to a report on Cricbuzz, Ishant Sharma was absent for training and had informed the team management of the pain after bowling for 20 minutes on Thursday. The Cricbuzz report quoted sources who said Ishant Sharma had gone for Tests and the results are awaited.
The report further added that Ravi Shastri, the head coach and bowling coach Bharat Arun had a chat with Umesh Yadav and this is been seen as a sign that the pacer might replace Ishant in the squad as India aim to level the series 1-1 after suffering a 10-wicket drubbing in Welington. At the Basin Reserve, Ishant was India's best bowler as he troubled all New Zealand batsmen with pace and bounce. He accounted for the top three and he ended up taking his 11th five-wicket haul.
During the pre-match press conference, there was no mention of Ishant's fitness by coach Ravi Shastri and it is believed that the decision over Ishant's inclusion will be taken as late as possible.
Bittersweet Tour So Far
The Wellington Test witnessed Ishant's 11th five-wicket haul, the India pacer notched up his third five-wicket haul in New Zealand and his second in successive Tests at the Basin Reserve. In 2014, he had taken 6/51 to bowl New Zealand out for 192 but the Test was more remembered for Brendon McCullum's stupendous triple century. Even in this Test match at the Basin Reserve in 2020, Ishant's haul was bittersweet as New Zealand's lower order wagged with 132 runs in the extended session and put Kane Williamson's side in command with a 183-run lead.
Umesh Yadav could replace Ishant Sharma in the Christchurch Test. (Image credit: Getty Images)
Ishant had twisted his ankle while bowling in a Ranji Trophy game against Vidarbha. At that time, DDCA general secretary Vinod Tihara had told PTI, "Ishant Sharma's MRI report shows a Grade 3 ankle tear and it is serious. He has been advised three to six weeks of rest and rehabilitation. It is indeed a big blow." However, Ishant underwent rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and he was fit in time for the Wellington Test.
Following the injury, the BCCI had decided to conduct two MRIs of Ishant to decide on his rehabilitation. "It's a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in BCCI as we will again do his MRI to ascertain degree of tear and decide on his rehabilitation," a BCCI source had said at that time.