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Ishant Sharma has said he will undergo surgery on his injured ankle after the conclusion of India's tour of Australia tour early next year. Ishant was ruled out of the limited-overs series against England after he sustained a ligament injury to his left ankle during the third Test at Edgbaston.
"It [the tour of Australia] is a very important tour and nobody wants to miss it," Ishant told the Hindustan Times. "So I'll get the surgery done only after the Australian tour. I am going to the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, where I'll stay for a week or 10 days to undergo rehab and seek a proper schedule. At the moment, I've been told to do strengthening exercises."
At the time of the announcement of the team for the limited-overs series, a board release said Ishant had responded well to treatment on his ligament "but will need to undergo a course of intensive rehabilitation and training to prevent recurrence of the pain in his left ankle". Ishant, however, said surgery was unavoidable. "I have a ligament tear in my left foot, and there is also a bone impingement in my left ankle. Surgery is the only way out. But if I undergo that now, my foot will be in plaster for about three months and the rehabilitation in all could take about 6-8 months."
India travel to Australia in December and will play four Tests, two Twenty20s and a tri-series also involving Sri Lanka, with the final game of that tournament slated for February 28. A rehab period of six to eight months means Ishant could miss the IPL, which is expected to be played in April-May 2012, as well as a yet unconfirmed Test and ODI series against Pakistan prior to that. India tour Sri Lanka for three Tests in July, and then host New Zealand for three Tests in August-September. This will be followed by the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka and the Champions League. If Ishant goes through with his plan, he is only likely to be back when India host England for four Tests in November-December.
Ishant had a busy Test series in England from the time Zaheer Khan injured himself on the first day at Lord's. He was the second-highest wicket-taker for India in their 0-4 defeat and said Zaheer's absence had a bearing on the team's performance.
"You can't say our morale went down," Ishant said. "We were always in the game. But if a bowler with 10 years of experience isn't there, it affects the performance. We had England on the ropes in the second innings at Lord's, and if Zaheer was there and had taken a couple of wickets, the result could have been different."
Ishant dismissed Kevin Pietersen with a short ball in the second innings of the Lord's Test, a wicket he will "cherish a lot". He said bowling in English conditions had been a tremendous learning experience. "Bowling in different venues in different conditions teaches you a lot. In India, you know that after the initial burst, you have to wait for the third or fourth day to get something i.e. reverse swing. In England, if the sun is out and there is no moisture on the track, it gets really very flat and that makes it tough to bowl on."