The Indian selection committee has been caught in a classic catch-22 situation on the selection of injured fast bowler, Ishant Sharma, for the upcoming tour of Australia. And, it’s a situation that can only be resolved by the BCCI’s office-bearers after National Cricket Academy’s head, Rahul Dravid, left it to the office-bearers to final call on whether Ishant should travel to Australia.
Ishant, who featured in just one IPL 2020 match for the Delhi Capitals before getting ruled out due to an abdominal muscle tear, has checked in at the NCA earlier this month, where he has under the intensive care of the support-staff, where a complete clinical assessment was carried out.
The NCA has informed the BCCI that Ishant will be fully fit by November 18 but he will require another 3-4 weeks time to train before he can finally be slotted back in the side.
The NCA has even recommended the veteran fast bowler to play a warm-up game or two before he is drafted for the Australian Test series.
“But has Cricket Australia confirmed the schedule? Do the selectors know when is the first Test beginning? Let’s say the first Test is beginning on December 17 with a Day & Night game at Adelaide. That means, Ishant will technically – going by the NCA’s own recommended timeline – be part of the Test squad the day he completes his training schedule recommended by the NCA,” those tracking developments were quoted as saying by TOI.
“Suppose the Test series is beginning earlier than December 17, let’s say the first week of December – Who knows? The schedule is not out yet – then Sharma won’t even be available. Are the BCCI and the selectors willing to take that risk? Is the NCA guaranteeing that Sharma will not suffer a break-down again?” the source added.
Ishant Sharma has grappled with injuries in the past 12 months
According to the same report in TOI, the NCA has sent a letter to the BCCI, informing the latter about the tentative timelines of Ishant Sharma’s injury, recovery, and rehabilitation.
“Let’s not forget what happened in New Zealand,” sources add.
Earlier this year, Ishant Sharma was picked for the Test series in New Zealand subject to fitness clearance. He was, however, rushed to join the team ahead of the opening Test at Basin Reserve, which did not allow him to play any warm-up games. And, while he did pick up a five-wicket-haul in the Test match, Ishant broke down once again ahead of the 2nd Test
With such a long season ahead, the BCCI does not want to take the risk again.
“The BCCI has to decide if they would like to take such a risk again. Ishant has gone through a horrible time and it’s a long season for India ahead with England touring here immediately after the Tests in Australia,” say those who see the cricketer’s perspective,” it added.