Indian pacer Ishant Sharma has been ruled out of the first Test match between India and New Zealand, scheduled to start on Thursday at the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur. Ishant, 28, has been diagnosed with chikungunya, the mosquito-borne disease, which has claimed a few lives in the national capital this month.
India cricket team coach Anil Kumble, however, has not named any replacement for the fast bowler and that depletes the squad number to 14. "We'll be closely monitoring his progress with the doctors and then we'll take a call about his fitness after the test match," said Kumble.
"For this test match, team management decided that we won't need replacement, we have 14 players and we'll do the selection from them."
This is the first casualty from the India team ahead of the three-match Test series. New Zealand, meanwhile, have already announced that allrounder James Neesham is ruled out of the first Test match owing to a rib injury, while fast bowler Tim Southee will not play any part in the upcoming Test series owing an ankle ligament injury respectively.
Ishant's absence means that the likes of Mohammad Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav remain the only pace attacking options for the India cricket team in their first Test match.