The Indian pacer Ishant Sharma has been struggling to secure a spot in the playing XI for Team India. As it seems, the upcoming South Africa tour could be his last assignment in the national colours. Team India is scheduled to play three Tests against the Proteas and apparently, Ishant Sharma’s place in the playing XI has become a huge doubt with the rise of young pacers like Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Siraj. The Board of Control for Cricket in India(BCCI) selectors have decided to find other options with several young and talented pacers eligible for the playing XI.
Ishant Sharma could be dropped after South Africa Tour
Ishant Sharma has been featured in 105 Tests so far and the right-arm pacer has indeed done a praiseworthy job in the longest format. However, his form has also dipped lately and the same could have inspired this reported call from the selectors. Over the past 12 months, Ishant has played eight Tests, taking 14 wickets at 32.71.
Thereby, it is to be seen how the South African tour pans out for him. The right arm pacer along with two other veterans, Ajnikya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, will have eyes set on them during the series, which gets underway on December 26.
A top BCCI official told The Indian Express that “Rahane’s removal as vice-captain is a clear warning signal to him. As a senior member in the side, he needs to contribute more. Same is true for Pujara also. He too has been around for a long time and now the team expects him to play those crucial knocks in big games.”
“In case they score and have a significant impact on the series, they might be able to extend their Test careers. But in the case of Ishant, this could be it,” the official added. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami’s rise to prominence piled up pressure on Sharma to hold his place in the team.
Besides these Team India regulars, fast bowlers like Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Umran Malik and Navdeep Saini have been waiting to make their way into the team. Ishant Sharma also couldn’t find a place in India’s four-man pace attack during the England tour earlier this year. He didn’t either feature in the second and final Test against New Zealand in the recently-concluded series.