Ishant Sharma passes fitness test, set to join team in New Zealand

India’s senior fast bowler Ishant Sharma passed the fitness test at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru and will join the team in New Zealand for the two-match Test series beginning on February 21.

“Ishant cleared his fitness test today and he will be joining the team at the earliest. He is available for selection for the first Test but final call rests with the team management,” an anonymous BCCI source.

Ishant said that the injury phase was a “roller-coaster ride”, crediting NCA physio Ashish Kaushik to help him to recover.

“It was a roller coaster ride for me after the injury on my ankle on the 20th January but with the help of Ashish Kaushik, I managed to pull it off! Scans were a little scary, but today I am happy that I am fit! Thanks, Ashish Kaushik! #recoverymode #recovery #postinjury,” the pacer tweeted.

Ishant Sharma twisted his right ankle on January 21 while playing for Delhi in a Ranji Trophy match against Vidarbha in the Feroz Shah Kotla. Sharma has played 96 Test matches to date and is just short of the 100-match target set by Indian legend Kapil Dev. Sharma’s ankle injury was a Grade 3 tear in his ankle, as confirmed by an official from the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association. After an MRI scan, the bowler was advised 6 weeks of bed rest along with time off the game for recovery and rehabilitation.

The anonymous BCCI source further told PTI that Sharma will undergo an MRI scan once again in order to determine the condition of his ankle, view the degree of tear remaining now, and whether he needs any more rehabilitation.

Once Sharma was declared fit enough to be in the New Zealand Test Series on February 4, he became part of India’s firebrand bowling attack that also includes Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, and Jasprit Bumrah.