India vs New Zealand: Ishant Sharma Ruled Out Of Opening Test
Ishant Sharma is all but set to miss the opening Test of the series against New Zealand, that start on February 21. As per a report in The Times of India, he is yet to get fit and will be missing the opening Test. The update comes as a big blow for the visitors, who will now be without the services of the senior pacer at least for the series-opener.
Ishant had suffered an ankle injury during the Ranji Trophy game against Vidarbha in Delhi last month. As per officials, he was ruled out of the complete series but he went to NCA to get fit. Just four games short of the landmark of playing 100 Test matches, Ishant was recently seen training in Bengaluru and is expected to be part of the second Test match.
In his absence, the team management will have to pick either of Umesh Yadav and Navdeep Saini in the playing XI. The former was recalled into the Test squad during the home season in place of Jasprit Bumrah. He is the frontrunner to keep his place in playing XI.
But the team management has a history of taking a surprising decisions and there can also be a case that an uncapped Saini might pip Yadav for a place in the playing XI. Their performances in the practice match will have a huge say in deciding which of these two pacers get a place in the playing XI.
Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami are all but confirmed to be part of playing XI in the opening Test.
Apart from taking a decision on pacers, Team India will also decide on whether to play two spinners or not. In West Indies last year, the captain went with only frontline spinner in the form of Ravindra Jadeja. This could also be a case in the two-match series against New Zealand as well.
The Test series kicks off on February 21 with Basin Reserve, Wellington hosting the opening game. The second Test will be played at Hagley Oval in Christchurch from February 29.
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