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Indian speedster Ishant Sharma is likely to skip the Ranji Trophy 2022 while Wriddhiman Saha has already withdrawn from the tournament.
Apart from these two-player, Pujara and Rahane, who are playing Ranji Trophy, will have to score more than just a stray century to get their position back in the Indian test squad.
Ishant Sharma Skips Ranji Trophy 2022
On Wednesday, Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) selection committee met to pick the Ranji squad and despite the selectors as well as office bearers trying to get in touch with Ishant, they were unable to get a confirmation on his availability till evening.
“As and when, if he tells he wants to play, he will be included as he is a Delhi legend. but I don’t know what has happened to him since he has been incommunicado for the last week. He hasn’t come for the Ranji team’s practice sessions. We don’t know what’s on his mind,” a senior DDCA selector said.
“We don’t know if the Indian team management has told him something which may have led to a change in his mindset,” he added, rather confused.
The writing was on the wall when Ishant wasn’t even considered among the top five pacers who played the three Tests in South Africa.
“Just like Wriddhi, even Ishant has got feelers that his India career might just be over. Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj are now India’s No 1, 2 and 3 in priority list when all are fit,” a senior BCCI source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
“Then comes Shardul Thakur, who is an all-rounder and Umesh Yadav was choice No.5,” he added.
Ishant played against New Zealand in Kanpur but looked pedestrian for the better part. In Mumbai, an injury was cited as the reason for his ouster even though he was seen bowling at lunchtime every day.
It is understood that he didn’t bowl well enough in the nets in South Africa to be considered for selection in the top five.
Rahane – Pujara Positions are Still in Oscillation
As for Rahane and Pujara, it has been learnt that the out-of-form duo have been put on notice. They may have to score heavily in domestic cricket to cement their places in the Test team.
“Things don’t look flowery for Rahane and Pujara too. They are playing Ranji Trophy which is a good sign. They are walking a tight rope though,” a BCCI source said.
BCCI Plans to Invest in Youngsters
It is understood the team management is keen on investing in KS Bharat as the backup wicketkeeper for Test cricket. India are due to play two Tests against Sri Lanka at home next month. They will be playing another two Tests in the year.
Barring a solitary Test in England in July, India will be playing in Bangladesh and India in the rest of the World Test Championship cycle.
“This is a good chance to give youngsters a longer run. However, the house is still divided on Pujara and Rahane. With Covid playing a big role, the dearth backup middle order batters for the next line is going to be tough,” the source added.
As for the pace attack, it is learnt that Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, and Navdeep Saini are being groomed for the longest format.