Ishant to undergo fitness test ahead of New Zealand Tests
India’s most experienced current fast bowler Ishant Sharma has to undergo a fitness test at Bengaluru’s National Cricket Academy (NCA) on February 15 ahead of Team India’s two-match Test series against New Zealand.
The main purpose of the test is to take a final call on his participation in the two-Test series beginning from February 21, with the first one scheduled to be held at Basin Reserve, Wellington.
Sharma had sustained an ankle tear against Vidarbha last month during a Ranji Trophy match. Initial reports had suggested the 31-year-old would require six weeks of rest and rehab and the pacer is undergoing treatment under the supervision of the NCA.
“Ishant is scheduled to take a fitness test on February 14-15. A call on him will be taken after that,” said Indian team management sources.
“There are two ways of determining fitness: one is clinical fitness and the other is match fitness. In the clinical test, the player is made to go through all the physical tests like running and agility. But match fitness depends on how rusty the player is. Ishant is working very hard and determined to reach the 100-Test mark as soon as possible,” the sources further added.
Ishant, who has 292 wickets from 96 Tests, has a specific role in the Indian pace pack during overseas campaigns and the team management would be hoping that the lanky paceman clears the test.
The Indian team selection committe had included Ishant in the Test squad hoping that he would clear his fitness test. So if he fails to do that now, it would be a huge blow for Virat Kohli’s side, which is already struggling following a 3-0 loss in the ODI series.