India seamer Ishant Sharma has been ruled out of the first Test between India and New Zealand that starts on Thursday in Kanpur. Team coach Anil Kumble confirmed the development by saying the Delhi bowler has failed to recover from chikungunya – a mosquito-borne viral infection.
Kumble further added that no replacement has been announced to replace Ishant in the India squad and expects him to return for the remainder of the series.
Ishant is a mainstay in the Indian Test squad having played 72 matches for the country and picked up 209 wickets. He picked up eight wickets in the recently concluded West Indies tour.
This is India’s first fitness issue heading into the three Test and five ODI series as against the Kiwis who have had bigger injury issues. On Monday, coach Mike Hesson announced that allrounder James Neesham would miss the first Test due to a rib injury he had picked up during the nets.
Last week, fast bowler Tim Southee was ruled out of the complete series because of an ankle ligament strain and returned home. However he is expected to return to India for the ODI series.