Bengaluru: Pacer Ishant Sharma is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that he is fit in time for the Test series against Australia that gets underway with the day-night Test at the Adelaide Oval on December 17. Having worked under the watchful eyes of Paras Mhambrey ever since hitting the National Cricket Academy (NCA), the fast bowler underwent a fitness test on Wednesday.
ESPN Cricinfo tweeted a video of Ishant in which the fast bowler can be seen going through the passes. "Ishant Sharma bowls at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru as he looks to prove his fitness for India's Test series against Australia," ESPN Cricinfo wrote.
With India skipper Virat Kohli available only for the first of the four-Test matches against Australia, there is no doubt that the bowlers will have to take up the extra responsibility of giving India the best chances of winning the series.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on November 9 said that Ishant, who is out with a left internal oblique muscle tear, is undergoing his rehab and he will be added to India's Test squad once he "fully recovers and gains sufficient match fitness".
On Monday, ANI reported that NCA head Rahul Dravid has taken charge to ensure that Ishant works closely with Mhambrey -- the head coach of the U-19 national team and also a pace bowler during his playing days.
"As NCA head, Dravid has informed the board that Ishant is working with Mhambrey to be fit in time for the Test matches. Ishant will definitely have a big role to play and his presence will not just give India another strike bowler, but also his experience will bring a lot to the table in Kohli's absence," a source in the know of developments had said.
Unfortunately, Ishant's stint at the NCA last time round didn't go as per plan. The pacer suffered a Grade 3 tear on his right ankle while playing for Delhi in their Ranji Trophy encounter against Vidarbha at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in January 2020. While it was believed he was out of the New Zealand tour as he was prescribed rest for six weeks by the Delhi physio, he hit the NCA and was passed by the fitness team in Bengaluru to join the Indian squad for the two-Test series, starting February 21.
While Ishant did play the first Test, the ankle injury resurfaced and he had to skip the second Test of the series. The coronavirus-induced lockdown ensured that he had time to work on his body and get back strong for the 13th edition of the IPL for Delhi Capitals. But he again injured himself and had to fly back.
With Dravid keeping an eye on developments, one would believe that a repeat of the February episode won't take place as India need Ishant to play the full series. The Indian squad has already arrived in Australia post the IPL and have started training for the limited-overs series which starts with the first ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground on November 27. The two teams will also play a T20I series after the completion of the three-match ODI series.