Ishant Sharma
The fast bowler is down with viral fever and may miss the first test match against EnglandReuters

Indian pacer Ishant Sharma has been diagnosed with viral fever and may not play the first test match against England, starting Thursday at the Montera Stadium in Ahmedabad. Bengal fast bowler Ashok Dinda has been named as cover for Ishant Sharma.

Sharma on Tuesday missed the practice session due to his ill health. "Ishant Sharma has got viral fever. He is expected to be fit for the first Test between India and England. However, Ashok Dinda has been told to fly to Ahmedabad as a standby", a Reuters report quoted BCCI Secretary Sanjay Jagdale as saying.

Confirming the news, Dhinda said, "I got an SOS that asked me to join the Indian team in Ahmedabad. I shall be with the team Wednesday morning."

His coach Ataldeb Burman was extremely happy to hear the news. "This is the best Diwali gift; he called me up to give the good news. I am very happy", Burman said.

"When he was repeatedly ignored I used to tell him not to lose heart. Given a chance, he will do well. I am confident. His line and length has vastly improved now. He has reaped rich dividends for his dedication", he added.

Dinda has played 10 ODIs and five T20s for India. He had a strong start to the domestic season, taking nine in the Duleep Trophy match against South Zone, but his form has narrowed down. He has only managed four wickets for 316 runs in the succeeding four matches. This will be his first test debut.

However, it is unlikely that either Ishant or Dinda will get a chance in the first Test as the team is expecting fast bowlers Zaheer and Yadav to play, along with two spinners.