July 05 2020
BCCI, team management maintain silence
19 December 2011


BCCI, team management maintain silence on Ishant's condition, possible replacement

Apart from boasting a pathetic record when it comes to injury management, India's cricket board (BCCI) and team management have always revelled in rumour mongering.

Fitness status of players is kept shrouded in incomprehensible secrecy, even though the team may pay the price on the field, like in England recently. But even by their standards, what is happening in Australia with Ishant Sharma - and his possible replacement, or non-replacement as the case may be - is bizarre.

With his ankle injury flaring up, Ishant is sitting out of India's final tour game before the Boxing Day Test and has been reluctant to bowl in the nets too. The impression that has emerged is that the player is not match fit yet for the Test, but no one knows if a replacement is flying out; or whether the team management wants a replacement. Initial reports from Canberra a day before the practice game, though, had indicated the team was giving itself 24 hours to decide on a cover for the Delhi seamer.

Meanwhile, with the team management, selectors and BCCI mandarins treating the issue like a matter of national security, rumours are flying thick and fast about every potential replacement from Ashok Dinda to Irfan Pathan to Ashish Nehra. Ex-captain Sourav Ganguly had said he had been informed Ashok Dinda would be flying out, but TOI's sources indicated on Monday the possible wildcard from Bengal was in Baroda instead, preparing for the next Ranji Trophy game.

"The fact that Dinda was supposed to leave is news to me," said an official, adding: "There are no indications yet Dinda has been asked, or will be asked, to pack his bags for Australia."

Said a BCCI source: "How can we send a replacement when we don't know what the team management wants?" Others indicated that three senior members of the team wanted Delhi's left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra, who last played a Test in 2004 and has a history of breakdowns.
However, highly-placed Board sources continue playing down the issue. "No one is flying out as far we know. Everything is fine with Ishant. The rest are all rumours and there is nothing to worry about," said a selection committee source.

If that is indeed the case, then why not just come out with it? Why prepare for such an important Test series like it's a mohalla match? Or is everyone living in hope that Ishant will be up to the rigours of a five-day game in a week's time?

India will be hoping they can avoid an action replay of Lord's earlier this year, when Zaheer Khan pulled out after a few overs.



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