Veteran India pacer Ishant Sharma, who had made himself unavailable for the Ranji Trophy league stage, is set to join the Delhi squad ahead of its opening match against Tamil Nadu on Thursday. However, Ishant will not be available for the tough showdown as he will be in five-day mandatory quarantine. He will be available for the second game against Jharkhand from February 24. The third and final Delhi match is against Chhattisgarh.
“Ishant is reaching today. He will be available from second game. It would have been better for the team if both the pacers were available from first game but their return is welcome and it will bolster the team,” a team source told PTI.
The veteran pacer is no more a certainty in the national playing eleven but he could get a game in the home series against Sri Lanka next month.
A senior official of the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) said that Ishant 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 is no reference available for any team to even remotely think of him. Even for national selectors to reconsider him, he needs to play. Had he got an IPL deal, he might have skipped. He has a 3.30pm flight today,” the official said.
Another India pacer Navdeep Saini too is expected to reach Guwahati for the Jharkhand game. Saini was with the India ODI squad in Ahmedabad and will not need to quarantine after arrival in Guwahati.
The 33-year-old Ishant has played 105 Tests but has gone down in the pecking order following the emergence of Mohammed Siraj and now Prasidh Krishna. He did not play a single Test in South Africa.
Yash Dhull set to open
India U-19 captain Yash Dhull is likely to open alongside Dhruv Shorey in the opening game, which is a must win for both teams if they are to reach the quarterfinals.
“He is ready to open. He is in form and it is best that he is given an opportunity when he is doing well. There is little point in selecting him and not playing him,” the source added.
Delhi head coach Raj Kumar Sharma had heaped praise on the young batter on Tuesday.
“He is an exceptional talent, he has shown that in the semifinals against Australia. He is a good future prospect for India,” Sharma told PTI referring to his hundred against the Aussies in the under-19 World Cup.
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