Team India fast bowler Ishant Sharma, who starred in the first Test against New Zealand, will miss the second and final Test starting from February 29 (Saturday) at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch. Notably, he aggravated his right ankle injury sustained during a Ranji Trophy game against Vidarbha in January.
The veteran seamer was present in the nets and did bowl for a while two days out from the match on February 27 (Thursday). However, he was absent from training on the eve of the final encounter. According to reports, Ishant had informed the team management of pain in the same ankle after bowling for nearly 20 minutes in the nets on Thursday. He was sent for tests on Friday (February 28), results for which are still awaited.
The absence of Ishant Sharma will be a massive blow for India ahead of the second Test where Virat Kohli & Co will look to level terms after a humiliating drubbing in Wellington. Sharma was the only positive from the first Test, who returned with a five-wicket haul in the first innings of the match.
As per reports in Cricbuzz, Umesh Yadav is likely to replace Ishant Sharma in the second Test. Head coach Ravi Shastri and bowling coach Bharat Arun were seen chatting with Umesh for a long period on the sidelines. Notably, Umesh has never appeared in a Test in New Zealand and has of late played most of his Tests on home soil.
He last appeared in an away Test at the Perth Stadium in December 2018, when India fielded four quicks. But Umesh Yadav had a rather successful home summer, where he played mostly in place of the injured Jasprit Bumrah, with 23 wickets at 13.65 in 4 Tests. This will be a massive opportunity for the Vidarbha pacer to showcase his skills in alien conditions as well.