The Indian cricket team on Tuesday grappled with a couple of major injury concerns ahead of their away assignment against New Zealand with opener Shikhar Dhawan ruled out of the T20 series and senior pacer Ishant Sharma certain to miss the Tests. Dhawan was ousted from the five-match T20 series starting on Friday, due to a shoulder injury he suffered while fielding in the third ODI against Australia in Bengaluru. Also Read - IND vs ENG: Motera Pitch Likely to Escape ICC Ban as 4th Test Strip Promises to be Batting Beauty
Ishant, playing for Delhi in their Ranji Trophy, was declared unfit for the Tests starting February 21 owing to an ankle tear sustained during a Ranji Trophy game between Delhi and Vidarbha on Monday. “Yes, he (Dhawan) has been ruled out of the T20 series. A replacement will be announced soon” a BCCI official told PTI. Also Read - Irfan Pathan Writes Heart-Warming Letter For Recently-Retired Brother Yusuf Pathan, Calls Him Champion Player And Source of Inspiration For Many
“Ishant Sharma’s MRI report shows a Grade 3 ankle tear and it is serious. He has been advised six weeks of rest and rehabilitation. It is indeed a big blow,” said Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) general secretary Vinod Tihara on Ishant’s fitness status. Also Read - Cricket: Chris Gayle Returns to West Indies T20I Squad After Nearly Two Years For Series Against Sri Lanka
India will play five T20 Internationals, three ODIs and two Tests during the tour starting with the shortest format on January 24.
Dhawan’s injury troubles have carried into the new year and he did not come out to open during the successful run chase against Australia on Sunday. The southpaw was taken for an X-ray after he hurt his left shoulder during fielding at the Chinnaswamy Stadim on Sunday.
KL Rahul came out to bat in his place alongside Rohit Sharma. Dhawan was seen wearing a sling on his left hand.
The 34-year-old Dhawan did not take the field for the entire duration of the Australian innings in the second ODI after a Pat Cummins bouncer hit him on the rib cage while batting. Dhawan missed the entire limited-overs series against West Indies last month.
He also had to pull out of the 2019 World Cup due to a fractured thumb, an injury he suffered against Australia. In the same game, he had scored a match-winning hundred.
Ishant, playing for Delhi, had twisted his ankle on his follow through while bowling against Vidarbha on Monday. The statement on his fitness came from the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association but the Indian cricket board is yet to issue any update on his injury.
“It’s a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in BCCI as we will again do his MRI to ascertain degree of tear and decide on his rehabilitation,” a BCCI source said.
Ishant was in the middle of his second Ranji Trophy this season, having played the opening home game against Hyderabad last month.
The 31-year-old is an integral part of arguably India’s best ever pace attack comprising Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav.
Fellow Delhi pacer Navdeep Saini is likely to replace the 96-Test veteran in the squad.