ICL: Indian Cricket League

Sharma ruled out of first SA Test


ishantYoung fast bowler Ishant Sharma was ruled out of this month’s first Test against South Africa on Monday as Indian selectors grappled with fitness issues following a long and difficult tour of Australia.

The selectors named a 14-man squad for the first two Tests of the three-match series beginning on March 26 but vice-captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh must clear a fitness test on March 21.

Sharma, 19, was the find of the tour in Australia where India lost 2-1 in the four-Test series that featured a divisive second Test in Sydney marred by poor umpiring, but won the tri-series finals 2-0 against the hosts.

He suffered a toe injury during the tour and a finger injury after his return and was advised to take three weeks’ rest. Indian Cricket Board secretary Niranjan Shah told reporters after the selection meeting in Bangalore, attended by new coach Gary Kirsten and test captain Anil Kumble, that Sharma would be considered for the second Test if he recovered in time.

The first Test will be played in Chennai from March 26 to 30 and the second in Ahmedabad from April 3 to 7. Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla will be on stand-by as cover for both Harbhajan and left-arm spinner Murali Kartik, who was picked as third spinner, and wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik for Dhoni, who is suffering from a finger sprain.

Kartik, who last played a Test in 2004, sustained an ankle sprain while playing in a domestic match on Monday. Left-arm fast bowler Rudra Pratap Singh comes back after missing the tri-series in Australia with a hamstring injury to bolster the pace attack in the absence of Zaheer Khan, ruled out with a foot injury since the second Test in Sydney.

Squad: Wasim Jaffer, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, Vangipurappu Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Irfan Pathan, Anil Kumble (captain), Harbhajan Singh, Murali Kartik, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Rudra Pratap Singh.

Source:Cricket News

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