India news February 8, 2013

Ishant heads for Melbourne to sort ankle problem

ESPNcricinfo staff

India fast bowler Ishant Sharma is set to consult a specialist in Melbourne as a "precautionary measure" after experiencing pain in his left ankle, on which he had surgery in early 2012. This could be a blow to India's bowling plans ahead of the home Test series against Australia, which begins in less than a fortnight.

On Friday evening, Ishant tweeted that he was fit. "Once again I would like to confirm that I m not injured. Jus going Aus to get my insoles," he said.*

Ishant had sustained a ligament injury to his left ankle during India's tour of England in August 2011, but underwent the required operation in March 2012, after returning from the tour of Australia. He was out of competitive cricket till August, when he was picked for the home Test series against New Zealand, but did not make the playing XI. He was finally back in action for India in the Tests against England in December, and played the limited-overs series that followed too, against Pakistan and then England. Following the England ODIs, Ishant once again felt discomfort in his ankle.

India's attack for the Australia series is already in some trouble. Zaheer Khan, their most experienced seamer, was dropped on form for the final Test against England and, more recently, missed the final few matches of the Ranji Trophy with a calf strain and is yet to begin bowling again. Their other preferred quick option of late, Umesh Yadav, played the first Test of the England series before sustaining with a serious back injury.

Varun Aaron, meanwhile, will travel to London to get advice on treatment of his back problem. "I will be going there next week, where I will be meeting a couple of doctors and seeking their advice. They will review the state of fitness of my back and based on that I will take a call on when I should begin bowling," Aaron told theIndian Express. "I have been bowling on and off but haven't bowled flat out. After this consultation I will get a clear picture of my body."

Aaron, who last played for India in late 2011, is recovering from a stress fracture of the back. After recuperating for a few months, he had returned to competitive cricket during the 2012 IPL, where he played eight games for his franchise, Delhi Daredevils. However, he then suffered a recurrence of the injury. He has a history of back trouble, having suffered two stress fractures soon after he made his Ranji Trophy debut for Jharkhand in the 2008-09 season.

* February 8 2.40pm GMT This story has been updated with Ishant's tweet