India in Australia 2011-12 December 18, 2011

Uncertainty remains over Ishant's fitness

ESPNcricinfo staff

The uncertainty around Ishant Sharma's ankle remained as he didn't bowl during India's training session on the eve of their three-day match against the Cricket Australia Chairman's XI. He was present with the team at the Manuka Oval, though. He played the football game that India play before their training sessions, and took part in light fielding drills too, but did not bowl.

Ishant has been advised two-days' rest by a specialist in Canberra, and is a sure non-starter for the tour game that begins on December 19. But the match is not a first-class fixture, which means he can be drafted in on for the second or third day if he recovers.

Ishant bowled only 5.3 overs in India's first tour game, walking off twice during that brief spell. The Indian camp said that day that Ishant was anyway going to bowl only six overs, and when the strapping on the ankle came loose with three deliveries left in the quota he felt no need to come back. Zaheer Khan and Rohit Sharma later said the injury wasn't serious. It has now emerged that Ishant saw a specialist and has been prescribed strengthening exercises and rest.

There is a possibility that the Indian team management might ask for a cover, just in case Ishant can't make it for the Boxing Day Test. However, that decision is not expected until late on Sunday or Monday.

Ishant had originally hurt the ankle in England. It was earlier suggested that he would need surgery on the ankle, but found out that it healed with physiotherapy at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.

India have had a horror run with fast bowlers' fitness on overseas tours. New Zealand 2008-09 was the last time they didn't have to deal with an injury to fast bowler. In Sri Lanka 2010, Zaheer was ruled out before the start, and Sreesanth was injured during training on the first day of the tour. Later that year, in South Africa, Zaheer missed the first Test. This year Zaheer got injured on the first day of Test cricket in England, and didn't bowl further in the series. India lost all three first Tests. They managed to come back and level series in Sri Lanka and South Africa, but were whitewashed in England.

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  • Kaustav on December 21, 2011, 23:49 GMT

    If Ishant's injury is serious then we need a backup..whose better than irfan pathan..he's in great form..his pace is also up..i saw him bowl few dileveries in 135+ during the WI bring him back & i agree with Sujay..Mithun & Vinay are hopeless..its injuries again thats spoiling Indias hope..we lost 2 of our best bowlers Praveen & Aaron..hope Ishant is fit..he bowled few overs in the 2nd warm up game.

  • Dummy4 on December 21, 2011, 14:04 GMT

    We are in for a pasting for sure, unless the batsmen perform exceptionally well, and we escape with some draws. Forget winning. Abhimanu Mithun and Vinay Kumar are hopeless. There was a time when India used to tour abroad with such useless bowlers like Paras Mambhrey or Kuruvila. I think they should get Irfan Pathan in there. He is slow, but at least he is very good against right handers when he swings them back in.

  • Dummy4 on December 21, 2011, 8:39 GMT

    It certainly would be unfirtunate if India can not play Ishant , particularly when Zaheer is yet to be back at his own level.

    Am sure simultaneously tour think tank is thinking about plating X1 for the first Test. When do they think it is possible to decide if Ishant or Zaheer can be played or not ? What if both Ishant and Zaheer have to be ruled out for fitness reason?

    With a cover required for Ishant/Zaheer Down Under it is a MUST that IRFAN PATHAN reaches down under asap.

    Though Mithun and Vinay are good it wont be easy with out Zaheer and Irfan or even with one of them playing but weakened due to injury or out of form.

    Following X1 with Irfan will have 9 batsman 2 all rounders and variety in bowling. Ojha will add variety to bowling but not really to much with the bat.

    1.Sehwag 2.Gambhir 3.Dravid 4.Sachin 5.VVS 6.Virat 7.Dhoni 8.Ashwin 9.Zaheer (Irfan /Ojha) 10.Ishant (Irfan /Ojha) 11.Yadav

  • Dummy4 on December 21, 2011, 7:49 GMT

    India Should take a leaf out of their last two series are concern in 2003 and 2007,They have taken most inexperience weakest Pace attack while Zaheer Khan featured only first test in both the series while its new Comer like Irfan Phatan,Nehra ,balaji in 2003 and Ishant Sharma,RP Singh in 2007 all relativey new commers but taken to the host fire against fire who were at Peak of their dominance,Interestingly in 1999-2000 tour down under India probably had best attack with Srinath,Prasad,Agarkar,Mohanty and even metronomical Anol kumble who were at their peak of their carear and still India drub 0-3.From Indian team they should Park their most fittest players not the most experienced but injured players.Its all depend upon mighty Indian batting line up to score heavily and reduces peressure on bowlers

  • Naresh on December 21, 2011, 7:13 GMT

    I am sure Ishant,Yadev,Zaks and Ashwin will form the bowling for India. I still feel Rohit should play in place of Sachin. Both Kholi and Rohit should play because their form is good. Its hard on Sachin but the master needs to rest for this one and play next three. India should plan the next series properly - fast bowlers are injury prone so why not carry additional pace bowler. The second wicketkeeper should be Robin Uthappa. Irfan pathan shoule be the allrounder. Carry the extra player on overseas trips.

  • Dummy4 on December 21, 2011, 6:38 GMT

    i hope next indian test line up will be like dis after the 3 greats retires

    Sehwag,gambhir,Badrinath,Dheeraj Jadhav,virat Kohli,Pujara/Rohit,Dhoni,Ashwin,Ojha,Zaheer,Ishant,Umesh,rahul sharma/Iqbal abdulla,varun aaron,atul sharma,Saha/Dinesh karthik.

    Look at dheeraj Jadhav career record is far the best batsman to get in test cricket...he is just 32 he has got another 4 years of cricket left in him

  • Srinivas on December 21, 2011, 4:09 GMT

    Ishant has to be sent back. Period!

  • JustOUT on December 21, 2011, 1:18 GMT

    India's bowling is pathetic.. Laxman & Dravid has to save India. As usual Sachin will score his 100th 100 for nothing.

  • Shakti on December 21, 2011, 0:07 GMT

    If the Indian selectors did their job better,India would be so worried over Ishant Sharma.India have Dhawal Kulkarni,his batting average is 32 & bowling average is 27.He has been taking wickets on very flat pitches in Indian FC cricket.Both Vinay Kumar & Abhimanyu Mithun have not been impressive.They are both very expensive & they both lack pace.The selectors have many young options,for batting & bowling.There are also a few allrounders around,which would be an ideal #6.India really need Zaheer Khan to be accurate with sufficient pace,but most of all,to devise his methods of getting India wickets.

  • Wahab on December 20, 2011, 17:20 GMT

    hahah .. so players started getting injuries .... who is next?

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