Veteran fast bowler Ishant Sharma could have become the second Indian cricketer to tour Australia five times after legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar, but now he is out of the four-match Test series. Ishant had taken 68 per cent of Australian wickets on the previous tour. He did not even play in the IPL due to injury and has now been ruled out of the Australian tour.
Ishant will have to choose between Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Siraj and Navdeep Saini in the absence. Ishant has taken 31 wickets in more than 13 matches in Australia. Of these 31, he has around two-thirds of wickets for batsmen from number one to number five.
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Australian batsman Steve Smith said last week that India would miss Ishant. He had said, “Ishant’s absence is probably a big loss for him. He has played a lot of cricket. Without him his team will not be strong.
Ishant Sharma and Rohit Sharma ruled out of first two Tests against Australia, how will Team India recover from this setback?
Indian Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane on Tuesday backed Smith, saying that Ishant will surely miss him as he is a very senior fast bowler. He also said that despite this, India has good options.
Rahane said, ‘I think we have a really strong bowling attack. Umesh, Saini, Siraj, Bumrah and Shami are all good bowlers and have experience. They know how to bowl here. It is all about bowling partnership. You know we bowled well here last time. This is a new series that will start with the pink ball. It is necessary to achieve rhythm. I believe our bowlers can take 20 wickets.
Rahane, 32, hinted that in Ishant’s absence, India could take on Umesh in the first Test. Umesh did not play in the second practice match but took four wickets in the first practice match. He also dismissed Australian opener Joe Burns both times and captain Tim Paine.