Ranji Trophy: Ishant Sharma joins India’s injury list, hurts ankle ahead of NZ series
The Delhi team went up in vociferous appeal, but it turned into a collective gasp as Ishant Sharma, who had struck Vidarbha skipper and opener Faiz Fazal on the pads, twisted his ankle and collapsed on the pitch at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground on Monday. The senior India pacer, going all out after the defending champions had been restricted to a 16-run first innings lead against Delhi on the second day of the Ranji Trophy Group A tie, turned to the umpire in appeal on the follow through when he hurt his ankle.
The lanky pacer hobbled off the ground supported by two members of the support staff. Although Sharma plays only Tests, the Indian team management will hope it is nothing serious as Jasprit Bumrah has just returned to action after an injury layoff. Vidarbha were 35/0 at stumps, an overall lead of 51, after their pacer Aditya Thakare took 7/55 to help dismiss Delhi for 163. Umesh Yadav took two wickets.
“He (Ishant) has got swelling on the ankle,” Delhi coach KP Bhaskar said. Sharma was taken for an MRI scan right after the game. “The report will be available on Tuesday. But it doesn’t look too serious,” said Manoj Kapoor, team manager.
Sharma will not bowl in the remainder of the match and will now go to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru for treatment and rehabilitation. It was going to be his last first-class game of the season as per the BCCI’s policy of managing the workload of top fast bowlers.
Sharma, who is four short of playing 100 Tests, was Man-of-the-Series in India’s last series, against Bangladesh. He had a niggle after that series and had gone to NCA for rehabilitation. He returned to play in Ranji against Hyderabad last month, helping Delhi win.
He is expected to be a frontline bowler in the Tests in New Zealand. The series begins on February 21, and if it is just a twisted ankle, he should recover in three weeks. India play a warm-up game prior to the Tests on February 14. Sharma, who had surgery in his left ankle a few years back and has faced fitness issues before, is set to become only the second India fast bowler to play 100 Tests. The two in New Zealand will take him to 98 and he should reach the personal milestone in Australia during the series starting at the year end.
Sharma’s absence means Vidarbha can now go for full points with two days’ play remaining.
Earlier in the day, Anuj Rawat’s 37 and Simarjeet Singh’s unbeaten 23 lower down helped Delhi edge close to Vidarbha’s total. Rawat, who seemed all set to give Delhi a first-innings lead with a 36-run ninth wicket stand, holed out to long on with the team 25 short of the opposition’s total.
Delhi had resumed on their overnight 41/4 but Thakare soon scalped mainstay Nitish Rana. Yadav then chipped in with two wickets to reduce Delhi to 100/7. The last three wickets added 63.