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November 13, 2011
Ishant Sharma, the India fast bowler, has said that his ankle has healed and that he, in all probability, no longer needs surgery to fix it. Ishant, who played the first Test against the West Indies in Delhi, had sustained a ligament injury to his left ankle during the third Test against England at Edgbaston earlier this year. He was forced to miss the limited-overs part of the England tour and the subsequent one-day series against the same opponents in India, but recovered in time to play against West Indies.
"There is no risk about it [ankle]," Ishant told reporters after India's practice session on Sunday. I've been working a lot on my ankle and everything. I am fit now and I am ready to play in Australia, and I don't think even after the Australia tour I will need surgery."
Zaheer Khan, India's leading fast bowler, has been out of action since the first Test in England back in June. With offspinner Harbhajan Singh also missing, having been dropped for the first two Tests against West Indies, Ishant has been catapulted into the role of India's senior strike-bower, a role he said he was happy to fill.
"Obviously it's a great feeling ... It's an honour to lead the Indian attack. Being the senior-most bowler in the team, it's really great. It's difficult to express this kind of feeling actually. You are obviously going to miss a bowler like Zak [Zaheer]. But injuries are part and parcel of the game. You have to play the role of the senior when someone is injured. Whoever you have in the team, you need to go ahead and give your best shot."
Given India's recent spate of injuries, the selectors have taken the opportunity to blood a few new players during the recently completed one-day series against England and the first Test against West Indies. Among the new faces in the ODIs were Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron, while Yadav played in the Test win over West Indies in Delhi. Both bowlers impressed with their pace and Ishant said it was a "great feeling" to be part of an attack that can bowl quick.
"Earlier, everyone was saying that India can't produce fast bowlers. Now all the three fast bowlers are consistently clocking 90 miles per hour. Obviously it's a great feeling for any fast bowler in the team."
When he was asked why India's bowlers failed to get reverse-swing at the Feroz Shah Kotla, Ishant it was difficult to do so on the first day when the track was fresh. "The only thing you can do is to be consistent and bowl in the right areas. As the day progresses, you get reverse-swing. Reverse-swing happens only on second or third day of a Test match.
"The Australia tour is after this series. We will get two practice matches there to get accustomed to the conditions. In India, the wickets are like this only. We can't complain about this."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala