NCA asks BCCI to take a call on Rishabh Pant and Ishant Sharma ahead of Australia tour

NCA asks BCCI to take a call on Rishabh Pant and Ishant Sharma ahead of Australia tour

As per the NCA, Sharma will need to play a few warm-up games before international cricket.

Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is in a bit of a fix before announcing the national squads for the tour of Australia later this year. Concerns remain over Ishant Sharma and Rishabh Pant’s fitness. Even as Pant made his way back for the Delhi Capitals (DC) in the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL), Sharma was ruled out due to an abdominal muscle tear.

Sharma is currently undergoing rehabilitation in the National Cricket Academy (NCA) where his clinical assessment was carried out. It’s been learned that Sharma will need time until November 18 to gain full fitness. The NCA also reckons that he would need to play three to four practice matches before stepping on the field for the rigours of international cricket.

Ishant Sharma’s Australia sojourn under the clouds

“But has Cricket Australia confirmed the schedule? Do the selectors know when is the first Test beginning? Let’s say the first Test is beginning on December 17 with a Day & Night game at Adelaide. That means Ishant will technically – going by the NCA’s own recommended timeline – be part of the Test squad the day he completes his training schedule recommended by the NCA.

“Suppose the Test series is beginning earlier than December 17, let’s say the first week of December – Who knows? The schedule is not out yet – then Sharma won’t even be available. Are the BCCI and the selectors willing to take that risk? Is the NCA guaranteeing that Sharma will not suffer a break-down again?” sources told The Times of India (TOI).

As per reports, the NCA, headed by the legendary Rahul Dravid, sent an email to the office-bearers updating about Sharma’s recovery period. “Let’s not forget what happened in New Zealand. The BCCI has to decide if they would like to take such a risk again,” the source added.

About Pant, sources also said that the left-hander being “overweight” could also be a cause of concern for the team. It’s up to the selectors to decide whether they pick Pant for the tour or not despite his low levels of fitness. If reports are to be believed, due to the COVID-19 protocols, India won’t be calling replacements from India once the players fly to Australia.