Senior fast bowler Ishant Sharma’s place in the Indian Test match setup appears to be highly uncertain, with the Delhi veteran not making it clear with regards to his availability for selection in the Ranji Trophy, which will take place in a phase-wise manner this year.
The 33-year-old has not made any formal communication with the Delhi and District Cricket Association. Although he was part of the Indian squad for the Test series against South Africa, he did not feature in any of the three Tests of the series, which India ended up losing.
He has been losing favour in the Indian side with the rise in other fast bowlers, with Mohammed Siraj and Umesh Yadav recently. The fact that he has not been in the best of form has only compounded his troubles, and he could lose his place in the side sooner rather than later.
Sharma last featured in a Test in the first Test against New Zealand after India’s disappointing exit in the 2021 T20 World Cup.
Recent reports from some BCCI sources have also hinted that some senior players, including Wriddhiman Saha, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, and Sharma might have their days in the squad numbered, with the rise of a host of young talent in the country.
They have also supposedly been informed about this and have also been told to expect a drastic drop in playing opportunities in the days to come.
Saha has announced his unavailability for the Ranji Trophy for his home state Bengal, while Pujara and Rahane have been named in their respective squads as they look to revive their Test careers, hopefully by scoring lots of runs in the domestic season.
Sharma’s case is the only uncertain one, with him not being a certainty for the national side, and also not announcing his availability for the Ranji Trophy.
“They have been told that the Indian team management is looking to groom the next line of players. Their chances of playing Tests would drop drastically. Things don’t look flowery for Rahane and Pujara too. They are playing Ranji Trophy which is a good sign. They are walking a tight rope though.”a senior BCCI source was quoted as saying.
With Rohit Sharma being the most likely candidate for India’s Test captaincy, it remains to be seen if the team is given a complete overhaul under the new coaching staff and the next skipper.