New Delhi: Veteran India pacer Ishant Sharmawho had not made himself available for the Ranji Trophy league stage, will join the Delhi squad on Thursday for the opening game against Tamil Nadu.
However, Ishant will not be available for the heavy show as he will be in mandatory quarantine in five days.
He will be available for the second match against Jharkhand from February 24. The third and final match in Delhi is against Chhattisgarh.
“Ishant reached today. He will be available from the second game. It would have been better for the team if both pacers were available from the first game, but their return is welcome and it will strengthen the team,” a team source told PTI.
The seasoned pacemaker is no longer a certainty in the national team, but he could get a game next month in the home series against Sri Lanka.
A senior official of the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) said Ishant has changed his mind about playing in the Ranji Trophy after going unsold in the IPL auction.
“If he won’t even play Ranji Trophy there will be no reference available for any team to even remotely think of him. Even if the national selectors want to reconsider him, he must play. If he had gotten an IPL deal, he might have skipped. He has a 3:30 p.m. flight today,” the official said.
Another Indian pacesetter Navdeep Saini is also expected to reach Guwahati for the Jharkhand match. Saini was part of the Indian ODI team in Ahmedabad and does not need to be quarantined after arriving in Guwahati.
33-year-old Ishant has played 105 Tests but has fallen in the pecking order following the rise of Mohammed Siraj and now Prasidh Krishna. He did not play a single Test in South Africa.
Yash Dhull opens
India U-19 captain Yash Dhull is likely to open alongside Dhruv Shorey in the opening match, which is a must for both teams if they are to reach the quarter-finals.
“He is ready to open. He’s in shape and it’s best he gets a chance if he does it right. It makes little sense to select him and not play against him,” the source said.
Delhi head coach Raj Kumar Sharma praised the young batter on Tuesday.
“He is an exceptional talent, he showed it in the semi-final against Australia. He is a good prospect for India,” Sharma told PTI, referring to his 100 against the Aussies in the Under-19 World Cup.
Bengal registers 348 new Covid cases, 21 new fatalities